Sunday, February 27, 2011

Coburn In Center Of Federal Spending Debate

From The Hill ~ Senate conservatives are split over a strategy for reducing federal spending over the long-term future, an issue they plan to force when Democrats attempt to increase the national debt ceiling later this year.

Some are concerned that a deficit reduction package being negotiated by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), two of the chamber’s leading conservatives, could include hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tax hikes.

Coburn and Crapo, members of President Obama’s fiscal commission, voted last year for a proposal to cut spending, reform entitlements and overhaul the tax code.

The fiscal commission’s proposed tax reforms would raise an estimated $785 billion between 2012 and 2020.

Coburn and Crapo are negotiating with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) to craft a deficit reduction package that would follow up on the guidelines set out by the fiscal commission.

Some conservatives in the Senate worry that Coburn, Crapo, and a third negotiator, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), might endorse tax reforms that would increase the total amount the federal government collects in taxes.

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