House Democratic leaders maneuvered on Monday for an early test vote designed to demonstrate strong party opposition to the one-year benefits freeze approved by the Senate and endorsed by President Reagan.
A special meeting of the 253-member House Democratic Caucus was called for today to vote on a resolution condemning the Senate-passed fiscal 1986 budget--a vote leaders said would undermine Reagan’s claim of wide bipartisan support for restraining Social Security cost-of-living increases.
A lopsided vote by the caucus could also head off a possible move by the House Budget Committee to incorporate curbs on Social Security benefits in its version of the 1986 budget, some key Democrats suggested.
Democrats on the panel, meanwhile, met behind closed doors late Monday to try to complete outlines of a budget plan in advance of the start of formal committee sessions expected later this week.
Budget committee sources, who spoke only on the condition that they not be identified, said that so far the Democrats have agreed on a plan that would reduce the deficit by about $46 billion in 1986--about $10 billion short of the reduction in the Senate-passed budget.
The tentative plan calls for an across-the-board freeze on most federal programs--including holding Pentagon spending at the 1985 spending level--and, like the Senate proposal, does not call for new taxes, the sources said.
And while Social Security benefits would not be frozen under the proposed House Democratic plan, cost-of-living increases in other programs would be.