Asbury Park Press

Dems Plan To Control Future Bush Spending

Pallone: No need to follow old formula

Asbury Park Press — Thursday, March 8, 2007

BY JONATHAN TAMARI
GANNETT STATE BUREAU

TRENTON — Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said Wednesday that now that Democrats have control of Congress, they will not be following along with President Bush's budget plans, which include cuts to domestic programs.

"I don't think we should see the president's budget even as a starting point," Pallone said in a conference call with reporters.

Pallone said Bush's spending plan would hurt middle-class and low-income workers struggling to pay for health care, housing and higher education.

Pallone made his comments while on a conference call sponsored by New Jersey Citizen Action, a liberal watchdog group that urged Congress to add more spending for domestic programs, such as expanded health coverage, aid to the hungry, education and environmental protection.

Citizen Action organizer Mike Olender said programs are being shortchanged in order to pay for tax cuts.

"It is time our congressional leaders make an investment in our future and act in a fiscally responsible manner rather than funding tax cuts for the most wealthy," Olender said.

He called for boosting domestic spending to $450 billion, from the $392 billion Bush proposed.

Bush and members of his administration have said the tight spending plan is aimed at achieving a federal budget surplus by 2012 and maintaining tax cuts they say are driving the economy.

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