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    The US Senate’s 2016 budget proposal highlights a deep chasm between Congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama as well as leading Democrats

    US Republicans Draw Clear Battle Lines With White House on 2016 Budget

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    The US Senate’s 2016 budget proposal highlights a deep chasm between Congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama as well as leading Democrats on a range of spending priorities including national security, healthcare, social programs, economic issues and the environment.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Friday, the Republican-led Senate voted 52-46 in favour of the Fiscal Year 2016 (FY2016) Budget Resolution, according to the US Senate Appropriations Committee.

    Republicans claim they will balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending on domestic programs and repealing Obamacare. Moreover, they argue their budget will stimulate US economic growth and reduce the national debt without increasing taxes or compromising on military spending, according to several US Senators in press releases issued on Friday.

    US President Barack Obama
    © REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque
    “The resolution would balance the federal budget over the next decade without raising taxes, repeal and replace ObamaCare, [and] provide flexibility for funding national defense,” US Senator James Inhofe said.

    US Senator Mike Enzi pointed out that the US Congressional Budget Office estimated the Republicans’ budget will boost the nation’s economic growth by $500 billion over the next ten years.

    In terms of national security, the Republican proposal will increase funding for off-the-budget war-fighting operations abroad, while keeping automatic spending cuts in place, referred to as sequestration, on the US Department of Defense’s long-term baseline budget.

    The FY2016 budget calls for increasing funding for the Overseas Contingency Operations Account by $38 billion while keeping the Defense Department base level budget capped at the $531 billion sequestration level, according to US Senator Lindsey Graham.

    Critics, however, argue that the Republican budget proposal plays political games with defense spending, and hurts the middle-class by slashing social, healthcare and economic programs, the White House and a number of Senate Democrats said in press statements on Friday.

    The White House described the Republican funding of military contingency operations as a “gimmick” that tries to lend the impression they are strong on national defense. The White House noted that such a position is in contrast to Obama’s budget that calls for $38 billion in additional defense spending above baseline sequestration limits.

    US Senator Corey Booker criticized the Republican budget proposal because it calls for $4.3 trillion in cuts to mandatory spending programs over ten years such as the health program Medicaid and job training programs.

    “The steep and careless cuts this budget proposes are tone-deaf to the daily challenges facing hard-working families, seniors, the sick and those who are one paycheck away from living on the street,” Booker said in a press release on Friday.

    US Senator Bernie Sanders said the Republican budget represents a “rich-get-richer” approach that cuts taxes for the wealthy at the expense of working class families.

    Sanders said he failed to persuade Senate Republicans to include amendments to their budget that would increase spending on infrastructure, close offshore tax loopholes, prevent cuts to healthcare for seniors, reduce emissions and increase the minimum wage.

    On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives approved a similar fiscal budget resolution for 2016.

    Members of the House and Senate will meet in April 2015 to resolve differences and negotiate a compromise budget.

    Related:

    US House to Pass Defense Budget by May - US Congressman
    US House Budget Proposal Cuts Taxes for Millionaires - White House
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    budget, Republicans, US Senate, United States
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