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GOP's Portman seeks spending cuts to match debt increase

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Sen. Rob Portman said Tuesday he plans to introduce a measure requiring that any increase in the nation’s borrowing ceiling be offset with spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget over the next decade.

Mr. Portman, Ohio Republican, said the Dollar-for-Dollar Deficit Reduction Act will help ensure that Congress does not continue to kick the can down the road of deficit reduction and lump “an unconscionable burden on future generations.”

“In order to spur job creation and get our economy back on the right track, we must restore fiscal responsibility, and this starts by stopping Washington’s reckless pattern of spending money we don’t have,” Mr. Portman said.

House Republicans announced last week that they plan to push for a three-month extension of the nation’s borrowing limit, which now sits at $16.4 trillion, in order to give Congress more time to agree on spending levels and pass a federal budget.

House GOP leaders said the proposal will include a provision to withhold members’ pay if they fail to pass a budget during that time.

Congress has not passed a budget since 2009 — a record that Republican blame on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s reluctance to make his members take a hard vote by bringing a spending proposal to the floor of the upper chamber.

As a result, lawmakers have approved short-term spending bills — known as continuing resolutions — to keep the government funded. In September, Congress voted to keep the government funded through March 27 — setting up another battle between Democrats and Republicans over the size and scope of the federal government.

Lawmakers, meanwhile, must also decide how best to handle $110 billion in across-the-board spending cuts to defense and domestic programs that are set to kick in on March 1, and the nation’s borrowing limit.

In a press release Tuesday, Mr. Portman said his bill would reduce federal spending by more than $3 trillion during the next decade and reduce federal spending to 20 percent of GDP by 2022.

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