After neglecting to pass a budget for almost 1,500 days, Democrats finally started revealing tidbits about how they intend to run the nation's finances.
With huge deficits and mounting debt, questions of fiscal discipline and balanced budgets abound in DC, and this morning Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) revealed the Democrat's "new" plan: raise taxes.
Sen. Patty Murray’s new budget plan will raise tax revenues by nearly $1 trillion while cutting spending by the same amount over the next decade, according to people familiar with the proposal.”
Politico was compliant enough with Democrat talking points to refer to the plan as proposing new "revenues" as opposed to tax increases. Even so, the details did not appear to be viewed as a successful rollout, even among Democrat members.
In fact, the executive director of the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee made clear to vulnerable incumbent democrats that they will not be putting any pressure on them to vote in favor of the budget, saying the "politically consequential decisions" will be up to the individual members.
Alex Roarty at National Journal noted, "[this] comment amounts to a tacit admission that the Senate Democrats' spending plan, which is expected to call for higher taxes on the rich and increased spending on transportation infrastructure, carries its own risk, particularly for a sextet of red state incumbents up for reelection next year."
On the opposite end are Senate Republicans who have taken a hit in recent months for a deal made to avert the fiscal cliff and concerns that they will not bring appropriate opposition to expanding government.
Senator Mitch McConnell told Red State, "The details that are leaking out about the Senate Democrat Budget make it perfectly obvious why they chose not to write one for four years. Democrats have hidden their vision of the country from the American people because it’s a vision Americans universally reject: more taxes, more government, and no reforms to government programs that are bankrupting our nation."
Going into the fiscal cliff deal, tax increases appeared to be on President Obama's side as part of his reelection platform. But after millions of Americans got their first paychecks of the year and saw that their take home pay had gone down as a result of the payroll tax holiday ending, it has become questionable whether tax rhetoric is still effective.
Also unclear is whether the administration's hard line on the sequester has paid off as Obama's poll numbers slip amid accusations that the White House has encouraged the cuts to departments that cause the most stress and inconvenience for citizens, such as closing the White House tours and national parks.
With these challenges to the administration, Republicans could end up back on offense. About taxes, McConnell also said they are not on the table: "The sooner Democrats face up to the fact that they’re not getting another tax hike, the sooner we can deal with the real issues that are leading us toward fiscal ruin." Adding, "we need to expand liberty, not government.”