Democrats' budget spares feds, ends sequestration

House Democrats have unveiled their own 2013 budget plan that counters the GOP version and eliminates some of the hardship to the federal workforce by replacing the forthcoming sequestration with targeted spending cuts and revenue increases. 

The “Making It In America” proposal closely follows President Barack Obama's job-spurring plan by investing in transportation jobs, education and efforts to help veterans transition back into the workforce. The proposal also calls for continued funding toward innovation and research; small businesses; and infrastructure.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, who introduced the proposal, said it “stands in clear contrast” to the one the Republicans offered March 20. Unlike the GOP plan that ends the Medicare guarantee while providing tax breaks to the wealthy, the Democratic version asks millionaires and special interests to share the burden to slash the deficit.

The $3.6 trillion proposal also aims to replace the January 2013 sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction “smart spending cuts, that requires everyone to pay their fair share, and that takes into account a comprehensive national security strategy.”

In contrast, the GOP agenda would shrink the federal workforce by 10 percent over the next three years, and calls for government workers to contribute more to their retirement plans. The Democratic plan implicitly criticizes the GOP plan, stating that "indiscriminate, across-the-board" workforce cuts would weaken national security agencies.

The Democratic plan maintains the total annual discretionary caps in the Budget Control Act and assumes no funding for Overseas Contingency Operations after 2014 when security operations are expected to be transferred to Afghan forces.

Both proposals are now headed for a House vote, expected to take place March 29.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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