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Sens. Coats, Donnelly offer contrasting views of U.S. Senate budget plan

U.S. Sens. Dan Coats, a Republican, and Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, offered their take on the budget plan approved by the U.S. Senate.

Posted on March 23, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on March 23, 2013 at 5:54 p.m.

The passage of the U.S. Senate budget plan generated mixed response, not surprisingly, from Indiana’s two senators, one a Democrat, one a Republican.

The Democrat-led Senate approved the plan in a 50-49 vote early Saturday, March 23. Here’s what Dan Coats, the Republican, and Donnelly, the Democrat had to say:

Ÿ Coats: “This budget won’t reduce the out-of-control federal spending,” he said in a press release. Likewise, he charged, it won’t help the economy grow, generate jobs or balance the U.S. budget.

“Instead, the Democrats’ budget puts the foot on the gas pedal and drives our country further and faster into debt,” said Coats. “The Senate budget is an unserious plan at a time that demands serious action and tough choices to get our fiscal house back in order.”

According to Coats’ analysis, the Senate budget plan would increase the national debt to $24 trillion over the next 10 years and increase taxes by $1.5 trillion. Spending would go up by 62 percent and the national debt would “eclipse 100 percent of gross domestic product for the next four years.”

Ÿ Donnelly: “The budget proposal I voted for today is not perfect, but it is balanced: It would cut spending by nearly $1 trillion and close unnecessary (tax) loopholes,” Donnelly said in a statement. “Even more important, it would not balance the budget by turning Medicare into a voucher program or by raising taxes on middle class families.”

He noted an amendment in the plan to repeal the 2.3 percent medical device tax included in President Obama’s health care overhaul measure, the Affordable Care Act. The medical device tax has been decried by reps from the area’s orthopedic industry and both Donnelly and Coats favored the repeal amendment.

Now’s the time for both parties “to come to the table to make the tough choices necessary to further cut spending and move toward a balanced budget as we aim to create a stronger country for our children and grandchildren,” said Donnelly.

The GOP-led U.S. House on Thursday passed a starkly different budget plan that would cut spending by $4.6 trillion over 10 years and, proponents say, and balance the U.S. budget in that time frame.

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