With another fiscal deadline just two weeks away, Senate Democrats on Thursday announced a plan to protect the Pentagon and other federal agencies from deep, automatic spending cuts in part by raising taxes on millionaires.
The $110 billion package would postpone the cuts, known as the sequester, through the end of this year, preserving the paychecks of federal workers and averting a hit to the economy that by official estimates could destroy 750,000 jobs.
But the primary goal of the proposal is political: Republicans, who oppose any new taxes, must defend that position in the face of across-the-board cuts that Democrats say would threaten military readiness, reverse gains in border security and throw 70,000 preschoolers out of Head Start programs.
In a statement issued in support of the Senate plan, White House press secretary Jay Carney said: “Republicans in Congress face a simple choice. Do they protect investments in education, health care and national defense or do they continue to prioritize and protect tax loopholes that benefit the very few at the expense of middle and working class Americans?”