Democratic Coalition Calls for Spending Cuts

A coalition of four House Democrats is unveiling legislation to trim the federal budget and cut the deficit by $70 billion.

Reps. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Peter Welch, D-Vt., John Adler, D-N.J., and Jim Himes, D-N.J., have formed the Spending Cuts and Deficit Reduction Working Group.

“Congress has to get serious about reducing the deficit now,” Peters said.

The package is called the REDUCE ACTS of 2010. “REDUCE” stands for Reduce and End our Deficits Using Commonsense Eliminations. The legislation would kill tax loopholes for energy companies and halt mandatory payments to states for abandoned mines, would kill the Overseas Private Investment corporation, slash duplicative agriculture programs and cut commodity payments to wealthy farmers.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., stopped short of endorsing the proposal.

“We need to encourage ideas on how we get to fiscal balance,” Hoyer said. “You have to look at all elements of our spending.”

The federal deficit has exploded since President Obama took office. Much of that red ink hinges on a massive financial rescue package in late 2008, coupled with the economic stimulus measure of early 2009. Those two bills combined cost nearly $1.5 trillion. Thus, Democrats are concerned about Republicans portraying them negatively this fall when it comes to the bottom line.