WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Coburn plans to unveil a $9 trillion deficit-reduction plan Monday that would cut most government programs, reshape entitlements, sell off federal property and close some tax loopholes.
Coburn's 10-year plan would achieve most of its savings from cuts — including to the defense budget — and structural changes to Social Security and Medicare, like raising the eligibility age for both.
The senator also will propose to collect about $1 trillion in new revenue over the next decade through tax changes, including ones to the home mortgage interest deduction and the exemption that workers receive for employer-based health insurance.
Coburn, R-Muskogee, has had his staff working on the plan since he dropped out of the bipartisan Gang of Six talks in May. The group of six senators was working on a proposal to shave $4 trillion off projected deficits over the next decade.
Coburn has said that even $4 trillion ultimately wouldn't be enough to fundamentally alter the nation's fiscal situation since inevitable increases in interest rates will drive up the costs of holding more than $14 trillion in debt.
The Oklahoma senator's proposal eclipses even in the House Republican budget in projected savings — by about $3 trillion over 10 years.
Some of the specifics reflect proposals made in December by President Barack Obama's fiscal commission, although Coburn more than doubles the amount the commission proposed to save over a decade.
After several weeks of work, Coburn's staff delivered more than an outline of a plan. In fact, it includes in-depth background on programs and their effect on the budget.
Though the plan as a whole is highly unlikely to gain a consensus for passage, the work could serve as a menu for congressional leaders trying to cobble together a deficit-reduction plan before the Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline.
Many Democrats already have dismissed the idea of wringing big savings from Social Security or Medicare if the changes put more of a financial burden the poor or middle class. And many Republicans have ruled out voting for tax changes that result in more revenue for the government.
Coburn is one of the only Republicans who has insisted that cuts and new revenue will be necessary to reverse the long-term trajectory of the nation's debt.
That is the “balanced approach” that Obama has been trying to get Republican congressional leaders to accept, but those GOP leaders have refused to go along.