Budget Battle

A familiar budget plan to sharply cut safety-net programs for the poor and clamp down on domestic agencies performing the nuts-and-bolts programs of the federal government is cruising to passage in the tea party-flavored, Republican-led House.  At the same time, the Democratic-controlled Senate is beginning a lengthy slog toward passage of a rival budget measure. It takes a sharply different view, restoring automatic cuts to agency budgets and increasing taxes by $1 trillion over the coming decade.  The dueling budget plans are anchored on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum in Washington, appealing to core partisans in warring parties gridlocked over persistent budget deficits. President Barack Obama is exploring the chances of forging a middle path that blends new taxes and modest curbs to government benefits programs.

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