House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio leaves a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 21, 2013, after the Republican-controlled House passed a tea party-flavored budget plan Thursday that promises sharp cuts in safety-net programs for the poor and a clampdown on domestic agencies, in sharp contrast to less austere plans favored by President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON (AP) — When it comes to budgets, balance is in the eye of the congressional beholder.
To House Republicans, it means a balanced budget in a decade, achieved by $4.6 trillion in spending cuts and without any tax increases.
To Senate Democrats, it means a balanced plan, about $975 billion in higher taxes and a spending reduction of about $875 billion, not counting cancellation of $1.2 trillion in existing across-the-board-cuts.
That makes the two plans polar opposites as President Barack Obama and the two political parties begin maneuvering toward yet another round of deficit-reduction negotiations.
“Ultimately the key to this lock is in their (Republican) hands and they’ve got to decide if they want to turn it, and that means taking a balanced approach,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat who is his party’s chief budget strategist in the House.
Across the Capitol, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky offered a rebuttal.
He said that under the plan Democrats favor, “We won’t get more jobs or a better economy or sensible Login to read more