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Democrats Unveil Budget: Same Size, Different Cuts

Associated Press

House Democrats today unveiled their newborn 1986 federal budget proposal that would cut spending by $56 billion, slicing deeply into President Reagan’s defense buildup but safeguarding the cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits.

The $967-billion spending plan calls for no tax increases, freezes spending on most domestic programs and provides for deeper cuts in others, such as transportation and urban aid. Programs for low-income people, such as Medicaid and welfare, would be protected against cuts.

Republicans cried foul, claiming the majority Democrats were seeking to railroad their budget through the House in a matter of days.

‘Conceived in Nighttime’

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“They hand us a document that was conceived in the nighttime. We haven’t had an opportunity to examine it,” complained Rep. Delbert L. Latta of Ohio, the senior Republican on the Budget Committee. He referred to the fact that the Democratic budget was hammered out in a series of late-night, closed-door caucuses among Democrats.

The Democratic plan would deny the Pentagon any increase in spending authority next year, although actual spending would rise by $15 billion.

In unveiling the budget at a news conference, Rep. William H. Gray III, the Pennsylvania Democrat who heads the House Budget Committee, thus formally offered his party’s alternative to a Republican plan approved narrowly last week by the Senate.

GOP Budget

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The GOP budget, endorsed by Reagan, also calls for $56 billion in cuts without raising taxes. But it would cancel next year’s cost-of-living increases for recipients of Social Security and other government pension programs, while spending more on defense and less on domestic programs than the Democratic blueprint.

House Democrats were expected to use their majority strength to force approval of the plan in the Budget Committee later in the day or on Thursday, and Gray said it would “put us on the road toward” significant deficit reductions, and “toward ending the buy now-pay later policies of the (Reagan) Administration.”

$120 Billion Deficit

In all, the Democratic plan would cut spending by an estimated $56 billion next year--divided almost evenly between defense and domestic accounts--and $259 billion over three years.


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