Republicans in the U.S. Congress Wednesday criticized President Obama’s 2015 budget proposal. The president’s spending plan raises taxes on the wealthy, creates new tax breaks for the poor and middle class, and increases spending on domestic programs - likely setting up a year-long battle with congressional Republicans.
The president sent his $3.9 trillion budget proposal to Congress Tuesday. On Wednesday, Republicans responded.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan called the 2015 budget “a campaign document.”
“Spending is out of control. We have to take back the reins. We have to address this before it gets too late," said Ryan.
The budget, which requires congressional approval, includes $56 billion in new spending for military and domestic programs. The proposal reflects the president's goal of reducing income inequality -- the gap between the wealthiest and poorest in America. It would eliminate tax cuts on the wealthy to pay for tax credits for childless workers and families with young children.
Sylvia Burwell is the director of the government office that develops the budget. She spoke to the House Budget Committee.
“It includes fully paid for investments in infrastructure, job training, preschool and pro-work tax cuts. At the same, it reduces deficits and strengthens our long-term fiscal outlook through additional health care reforms, tax reforms and by fixing our broken immigration system," said Burwell.
Again, Chairman Ryan:
“More tax increases, more spending and more debt aren’t going to get people back to work. They’re not going to increase take home pay. They’re not going to grow the economy," he said.
Republicans will counter with a budget that will include welfare reform, an alternative to the president’s health care reform, and the party's own proposals to create upward mobility for the working class. Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers
“As Republicans we continue to be focused on those policies that are going to help people get jobs and also those policies that are going to help address the middle class squeeze - the struggle that people are facing in their day to day lives," said Rodgers.
The budget battle is a forerunner of the November election.
Republicans hope to hold on to the House of Representatives while Democrats are protecting a narrow majority in the Senate. Democrats are expected to point to what the president calls "choices" and "values" involving income inequality while Republicans are expected to push for lower spending and support for the middle class.