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Democrats May Fall Very Short of Opening Bid in Budget Battle

7:30 PM, Apr 8, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Depending on what final deal the House GOP and Senate Democrats agree upon to avoid a shutdown, it's worth noting what Harry Reid made as their initial offer. Here's what Reid and other Senate Democrat leaders suggested in a February 8 letter to John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and the rest of the GOP leadership in the House (emphases mine):

We are concerned that some of the cuts you may propose could undermine future growth just as our economy is beginning to recover. Instead, we urge you to consider ending a number of tax loopholes and other subsidies that benefit big oil and gas companies. Closing these loopholes would save the federal government more than $20 billion over 10 years. This is just one example of a wasteful item in the budget that could be cut in order to make a down payment toward reducing the nation’s deficit. If the House chooses to adopt this suggestion, it would represent a good first step towards cutting spending in a bipartisan way.

That's $20 billion in "closed loopholes" (read: gas taxes) with absolutely no spending cuts. Sources say the talks are now at the point of $38 billion in cuts with no new taxes. If that's the case, it sounds like it could be a pretty big bargaining victory for Speaker Boehner.

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