Dueling Deficit Messages Mark Early Days of Congress

BY Linda J. Scott  January 6, 2011 at 3:03 PM EDT

Senate Democrats came out swinging Thursday against the new House Republican majority, claiming that proposed exemptions and tax cuts will increase the federal deficit. They say Republicans will be spending more than they are planning to cut, exactly what they campaigned against.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer said “less than 24 hours since the Republicans took over the majority in the House and they’ve already unveiled a plan to balloon the federal deficit by $1 trillion. Some might call that reckless.”

The exemptions include a bill to repeal last year’s health care legislation, and extending tax cuts for top income earners.

Armed with charts and graphs, Schumer was joined at the news conference by Senators Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Dick Durbin of Illinois, both of whom accused House Republicans of saying one thing and doing another.

But newly-installed House Speaker John Boehner says that’s simply not the case.
“We made it very clear we would repeal this job-killing health care bill and replace it with common sense more affordable health insurance. I don’t think anybody in this town believes a repeal of ObamaCare will increase the deficit,” he said.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, repealing the year-old legislation could cost an estimated $230 billion over the next ten years, potentially adding to the deficit. The tax cut issue was not discussed in Boehner’s news conference.

Speaker Boehner said that the “CBO can only provide a score or costs based on the information given to them. CBO is entitled to their opinion.”