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Democratic leaders are looking in the next three weeks to send President Barack Obama a slew of measures that cost more than $200 billion, including a multiyear extension of unemployment benefits, an extension of expiring tax provisions and Medicare doctor payments totaling $180 billion and a $33 billion Afghanistan war supplemental bill.
Because most of those costs won’t be paid for, Republicans plan to use those bills and the Democrats’ budget blueprint to highlight massive deficits ahead of the congressional midterm election. Republicans have recently been pointing to Greece’s dismal fiscal situation as a warning, claiming that the U.S. will be headed for a similar fate unless the deficits are curtailed.
“Washington Democrats’ out-of-control spending spree is scaring the hell out of the American people,”
Democratic leaders plan to move quickly on those issues because the jobless insurance program and Medicare doctor payment rate expire in early June, and because Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the war funding bill must be completed this month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week.