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Senate Democrats: Boost domestic spending, not just defense

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Representative Jim Jordan of OH, a leading member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is pushing to cut as much as $400 billion over a decade from a wide range of programs that benefit the poor.

Conservatives are demanding greater cuts to benefit programs such as food stamps, but are meeting resistance from other Republicans.

The current deadlock is the result of a battle between conservatives demanding greater spending cuts and the committee chairmen who would carry them out. "I do see a viable path".

"We're just working really hard to get the final numbers put out", said Budget Committee Chairman Diane BlackDiane BlackHouse budget plan delayed again over welfare cuts Lawmakers celebrate National Selfie Day on Twitter Ryan: Some tax-reform provisions don't have to be permanent MORE (R-Tenn.).

Legislative budget writers are scheduled to resume their work as negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders over a spending plan for the fast-approaching fiscal year have stalled.

Defense hawks have also been pushing for higher military spending; the defense spending bill being considered by appropriators assumes a top line number of $658.1 billion, well over the amount that had been considered by the budget committee. That number was thrown out as an offer.

"150 billion is an aggressive number to begin with", said Rep. Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania Republican and a leader of the moderate Tuesday Group caucus.

"We set ourselves up for cutting taxes for businesses while potentially weakening the safety net programs for lower-income people, so if you want to deal with entitlements, do it in next year's budget, not this year's", he said.

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Mr. Dent also said trying to deal with entitlement program changes in the 2018 budget could make tax reform more hard. The budget doesn't identify the specific cuts, but rather would ask various committees to reach the target deficit reduction numbers.

"Fifty billion dollars is a lot of money", said Rep. Mike Conaway, agriculture committee chairman.

The House appropriations defense subcommittee and House armed services committee are both marking up defense bills this week that adheres to the budget framework's $621.5 billion base defense topline and $75 billion war budget, for a total increase of $28.5 billion more than the Trump administration request.

But conservatives want to see bigger cuts, while committee chairmen aren't necessarily enamored with looking for areas to slice from their own territory.

"Those committees have other obligations, and it's a matter of us finding a way to move forward", Black told reporters Tuesday. But ultimately the path forward on a budget involves a deal with the Senate on either repealing, suspending or busting the spending caps in the Budget Control Act, he said.

"I will pass out of committee what we believe will be good for this conference and that we believe will also pass with 218 on the floor", she said.

Of course, the House's budget numbers are unlikely to be agreed to in the Senate, where Democrats who object to the lower domestic spending topline can filibuster spending bills.

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