US Democrats aim tax, spending cuts at rich to avoid 'meat ax'
McConnell of Kentucky faces a possible Republican primary challenge in 2014 from the more conservative wing of his party.
But after significant victories in last November's elections that saw Obama win a second term and his fellow Democrats pick up seats in the Senate and House, Democrats are trying to block the non-military spending cuts that they argue will hit mainly the poor and middle classes.
Ratcheting up a public relations campaign to warn of heavy federal government job cuts, Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin was to visit the National Institutes of Health in suburban Washington on Friday to discuss "how the latest federal budget battles and looming sequestration may affect you."
The Energy Department has notified its employees that it may have to place workers on temporary furloughs and slash "vital programs" if the across-the-board budget cuts take place as scheduled in March.
"Given that less than one month remains until these cuts would take effect ... our senior leadership team is engaged in extensive planning efforts to determine how we would deal with sequestration," Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman said in an internal letter to department employees obtained by Reuters.
A new Hart Research poll released by Americans For Tax Fairness found that two-thirds of those surveyed support higher taxes on the top 2 percent and corporations, and that a majority opposes the Republican spending-cut-only approach.
Buoyed by that kind of poll, Obama on Thursday told House Democrats who are gathered here that he welcomed a budget debate in the "court of public opinion."
While he gave passing mention to reforming large government programs that Republicans want to cut for major savings - and where long-term deficit-reduction might be most achievable - the president mainly talked about reining in favorable tax treatment for the rich.
"We sure as heck should be willing to ask those of us who are luckiest in this society to close a few loopholes and deductions that the average American doesn't get," Obama said.
- Fixing probe now reaches Bollywood, son of Dara Singh held
- BCCI cashes Pune guarantee, Sahara walks out of IPL
- 'Sree spent Rs 1.95L on clothes, bought friend BlackBerry'
- Delhi firm with MoD as client is linked to Pak cyberattacks
- After Infosys, iGATE sacks Phaneesh Murthy for sexual misconduct
- 2 weeks after harassment, Haryana schoolgirls return, cops in tow