On CBS's Face the Nation yesterday, the number three Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, and the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, debated the budget. But of particular interest is their discussion of Paul Ryan's budget plan, which was perhaps a preview of the forthcoming debate over entitlement and tax reform:
As Sessions noted, Schumer's remark that Democrats agree "there is a deficit problem and we have to bring it down" is a change from the president's 2012 budget plan, which contains no deficit reduction measures and, as the Congressional Budget Office said last month, underestimates future budget deficits by over $2 trillion.
Sessions called President Obama's original plan the "most irresponsible budget proposal ever submitted to the American people" because it does not address entitlement reform and actually increases discretionary domestic spending. (That could, however, change when the president releases his revised budget later this week and delivers his scheduled address on entitlement reform.)
Schumer, for his part, argued that Ryan's plan balances the deficit on the backs of the middle class, and he suggested the revised Democratic budget will propose closing tax loopholes and subsidies for oil companies and rescinding the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. In the months ahead, Democrats will likely reinforce the idea that "shared sacrifice" is necessary to solve America's budget problems.