Senate Democrats intend to unveil a jobs and competitiveness agenda Wednesday, but in a surprise move, the leaders are expected to embrace a deficit reduction component, Fox has learned.
Dems will embrace President Obama's five-year domestic discretionary spending freeze, a move the White House estimates will save $400 billion over 10 years, according to a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide. Dems made the decision "to strike the right balance between helping create jobs...while also living within our means and reining in the deficit," the aide said.
Accordingly, Dems are expected to promise that any new spending be offset with equivalent reductions in spending (ie, no revenue increases like tax hikes).
But Republicans scoffed. Don Stewart, senior aide to Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y., panned the plan, recalling his boss' recent comment that "a budget on cruise control won't cut spending."
Earlier in the day, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio and former Budget Director under President George W. Bush, told reporters, "The president has a (spending) freeze, but the freeze locks in the 24 percent increase in that spending over the last two years. That 24 percent, by the way, does not include the additional funding from the stimulus and from the supplemental, which would take it up to about 80 percent increase in the last two years."
The Democratic aide said the jobs measures the leadership will propose Wednesday at an 11:15a.m. ET news conference, were specifically chosen for their past GOP support.