WASHINGTON – A new budget proposal being drafted by the top Democrat on the Senate budget committee has the party concerned that it could weaken their negotiating position and shift the debate to the right.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), who is retiring next year, announced Tuesday that he's preparing a budget plan that aims to cut $4 trillion from federal spending over ten years, in a way that mirrors the White House fiscal commission. Though short on specifics, it seeks to protect Medicare while achieving $1 trillion in savings through tax reforms, presumably by eliminating loopholes and deductions rather than raising rates.
The blueprint is notably more conservative than the plan President Barack Obama laid out in response to the House GOP proposal. Democrats privately fear that it could become the left foil to the Republican measure, establishing their flank much further to the right than they'd like it to be, and pave the way for a very conservative centrist compromise.
Democratic aides griped to The Huffington Post that the proposal may get tagged as the party's official position, with no certainty of winning Republican support or even passing out of committee.