Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Republicans push for spending cuts

A potential US default on its debt is just over two weeks away

Tea Party-backed Republicans are likely to dominate the House of Representatives this week, pushing a spending cut plan that stands little chance of passing either legislative chamber even though a potential US default on its debt is just over two weeks away.

With the stalemate continuing and time growing short, House Republicans are gearing up to push even harder on their plan that dramatically cuts spending, rules out any tax increases and calls for a balanced-budget amendment to the US Constitution that would require the government to not spend more than it takes in.

But such a plan is unlikely to be passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

That makes the effort primarily an opportunity for House Republicans, particularly dozens of new members elected with the support of the small government Tea Party movement, to symbolically show their steadfastness in demanding huge cuts in government spending, opposition to higher taxes and ideological purity in balancing the budget.

President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any legislative measure that does not include higher taxes for America's wealthiest citizens and corporations, including the elimination of tax breaks for hugely profitable oil companies.

He appears to be gaining ground with voters, especially pivotal independents.

His so-called balanced approach of spending cuts and tax increases has the backing of 69% of Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll. And among those who are not wed to an entrenched party view, pragmatism seems to be gaining traction over ideology.

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