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Obama's deficit plan revs up Democrats


Democrats in Congress today were energized by President Obama's deficit reduction plan, which in part calls for higher taxes on the wealthy, and called on Congress to get to work on Mr. Obama's proposals right away.

Mr. Obama today put forward a plan to reduce the deficit by about $3 trillion over 10 years. The plan is intended to pay for the president's $447 billion jobs package, as well as to start paying down the nation's long-term deficits and debt. About $1.5 trillion of the budget savings in Mr. Obama's plan comes from raising taxes on the wealthy, closing tax loopholes and other tax changes.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., a vocal advocate for reducing income inequality, released a statement applauding President Obama's plan, which she said demands "that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share."

"The battle lines are drawn in this crisis, and President Obama is taking a clear stand behind our nation's seniors and middle class Americans," Schakowsky said. "Congress must get behind the President's proposal and make sure we do not attempt to reduce the nation's deficit on the backs of the middle class and seniors."

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the No. 2 Democrat in the House, called the president's plan a "balanced approach" to creating jobs in the short-term and lowering the deficit in the long-term. "It asks everyone to pay their fair share, strengthens Medicare and Medicaid for future generations while protecting beneficiaries, and emphasizes the need for immediate job creation," he said.

With the plan to pay for Mr. Obama's "American Jobs Act" in place, Hoyer urged House Republican leadership to immediately take up the jobs bill while a special committee tasked with creating a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction plan (dubbed the congressional "super committee") considers Mr. Obama's deficit reduction ideas.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters, "The president has a winning plan and he's going all in and I believe Democrats will be behind him."

Schumer specifically praised what the White House is calling the "Buffett Rule," the Hill reports, which would reform the tax code so that taxpayers making $1 million or more a year were not taxed at lower rates than other taxpayers.

"The Buffet Rule has the potential to be a game changer in the tax debate," Schumer said, calling on Congress to at least take up that specific proposal.

Some liberal leaders praised Mr. Obama's new plan ahead of the president's remarks this morning.

Reps. Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison, the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, applaued Mr. Obama's "good-faith efforts to address the real drivers of our national deficit" -- tax breaks for the wealthy, corporate loopholes and ongoing wars -- while protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was "very encouraged" by the president's focus on tax reform that calls on all Americans to "contribute their fair share" and urged the "super committee" to take up his ideas.

Liberal activists also praised Mr. Obama's proposals. The grassroots group said Mr. Obama laid out a "clear vision" for putting Americans back to work.

"Americans need jobs not cuts, paid for by making millionaires and corporations pay their fair share," Daniel Mintz,'s campaign director, said in a statement. "Any Republicans, and Democrats, who oppose these common sense, hugely popular proposals will be standing in the way of a real recovery."

MoveOn is already planning to air a TV ad on national cable stations this week that alludes to Mr. Obama's proposed "Buffett rule." The ad features actors portraying middle class workers who say, "I'm Warren Buffett's secretary" and complain about paying higher taxes than the billionaire investor.