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Budget battles: two down, one (the president's) to go

Budget road signRepublicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate today unveiled their budgets for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins Oct. 1.

Each side declared the other's proposal dead on arrival.

The president was supposed to have, by law, delivered his budget on the first Monday in February. In case you don't have a calendar handy, that was Feb. 4.

But the White House now says it will have its financial wish list ready on April 8.

That date is significant because it's the day that Congress returns to work after its spring break. Capitol Hill watchers speculate that the Administration's delay is calculated to provide Obama with more leverage in his quest for a fiscal "grand bargain."

And what might that entail? Topics being tossed about include additional revenue raisers (legispeak for taxes), deficit reduction (likely tweaks to the current sequester cuts), changes to Medicare and Social Security and, the icing on the cake, some tax reform.

Aside from that last item, there's something for everyone to hate.

Speaking of haters, they are out in force on both sides of the aisle.

House Republican budget: Let's start with the House GOP budget, since it once again is the work of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), head of the House Budget Committee and former VP candidate.

This is Ryan's third effort on a budget, and it contains many of the prior years' items.

But new to the 2013 version is the money from the tax hikes included in the fiscal cliff bill, aka the American Taxpayer Relief Act. Yes, the new money from tax increases on wealthier Americans that the GOP had resisted for years helps Ryan's plan balance the federal budget in 10 years.

The latest Ryan plan also calls for eliminating Obamacare (except for the money saving provisions reducing Medicare waste), revamping Medicare for future retirees and eventually collapsing the current seven individual tax rates to just two of 10 percent and 25 percent. He also would cut $4.6 trillion in current spending over the next decade.

Senate Democratic budget: Across the Hill, Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has not publically released her party's budget. But she did share it today with her Democratic colleagues.

UPDATE, March 13: The Senate Budget Committee's fiscal 2014 plan is now available on its website.

Murray's proposal contains almost $1 trillion in new taxes and $1 trillion in targeted spending cuts that would replace the broader sequester amounts. This 50-50 split contains more taxes than Obama has proposed and is likely to be a hard sell to some more conservative Democrats.

The Democratic proposal, however, still is expected to go to the Senate floor next week. And don't be surprised to see Vice President Joe Biden hanging around his old haunt in case Democratic defectors mean he's needed to cast a tie-breaking vote.

That's the same timetable for voting in the House on the GOP budget, which should pass that chamber with Republican votes alone.

Then we wait for Obama's numbers and the real fun to begin.

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Denise Derey

Ryan needs to quit the fear mongering regarding Obamacare. Let's move forward with a balanced budget by coming to an accord.

Denise Derey

Paul Ryan should not be involved in this budget process given his bias towards the Obama Admin as evidenced during the recent Presidential campaign.

The republican's are being obstructionists to make this White Houses's second term a lame duck.

That's unfortunate as the American people continue to suffer as a result of political power grabs.

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