–Senate Budget Chair Conrad Says Must Balance Stimulus, Deficit Cuts
–Sen. Conrad: Urging Hill Dems To Pass FY11 Budget Resolution
–Democrats ‘Very Concerned’ About State of Economy

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad
said Tuesday that Democratic senators are “very concerned” about the
American economy, as they try to encourage the fledgling economic
recovery while also beginning to tackle long-term budget deficits.

“We’re in a very delicate time in history,” Conrad said to
reporters after a Democratic luncheon.

He said policymakers need to ensure the economic recovery expands
and deepens while charting a long-term strategy for controlling ruinous
budget deficits.

He said the current focus on stimulus is appropriate, for now.

“We know we have to pivot and bring down the deficit over time,” he

Conrad said he urged Senate Democrats to take up a five year budget
resolution which he pushed through the Senate Budget Committee several
weeks ago.

This plan, he said, would reduce budget deficits from 10% of GDP to
3% of GDP.

He said his suggestion was “very favorably received” by Senate
Democrats. Action by the Senate on a budget outline might “encourage”
the House Democratic leadership to work on a budget resolution in June,
he said.

Budget law requires Congress to pass a budget resolution by April
15, but this deadline is often missed.

Conrad’s five year fiscal plan would ratchet budget deficits down
from $1.4 trillion in fiscal year 2010 to $545 billion in FY’15.

A deficit of $545 billion in FY15 would represent about 3% of GDP,
Conrad said.

Conrad has said his budget would allow for about $780 billion in
net tax cuts over five years and said this should be used to renew the
2001 and 2003 tax cuts for middle and low income taxpayers that are set
to expire.

Conrad’s budget allocates $1.122 trillion for discretionary
programs in FY’11. This is $4 billion below President Obama’s request.

Sen. Judd Gregg, the ranking Republican on the Budget panel, has
said the Democratic budget fails to confront the main driver of the
nation’s long-term fiscal challenges: soaring spending, especially for
entitlement programs.

Budget resolutions are non-binding congressional blueprints that
set spending and revenue goals and made budget deficit predictions.

Budget resolutions are important for setting the ceiling on
discretionary spending for the coming fiscal year.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: (202) 371-2121 **

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