WASHINGTON (AP) — One of the Senate's staunchest budget-cutters unveiled Monday a massive plan to cut the nation's deficit by $9 trillion over the coming decade, including $1 trillion in tax increases opposed by most of his fellow Republicans.
The plan by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is laced with politically perilous proposals like raising to 70 the age at which people can claim their full Social Security benefits. It would cut farm subsidies, Medicare, student aid, housing subsidies for the poor, and funding for community development grants. Coburn even takes on the powerful veterans' lobby by proposing that some veterans pay more for medical care and prescription drugs.
Coburn would also eliminate $1 trillion in tax breaks over the coming decade, earning him an immediate rebuke from Americans for Tax Reform, an anti-tax organization with which Coburn has had a running feud. He would block taxpayers from claiming the mortgage interest deduction on second homes and limit it to homes worth $500,000. He would also ease taxpayers into higher tax brackets more quickly by using a smaller measure of inflation to adjust the brackets.
Coburn was a member of President Barack Obama's fiscal commission and voted for its plan to cut the budget by about $4 trillion over a decade. He recently dropped out of the closely watched "Gang of Six" senators seeking a bipartisan agreement to rein in deficits and break through the partisanship engulfing official Washington over the deficit.
His re-entry into the deficit debate comes as Obama and lawmakers struggle over increasing the so-called debt limit and avoid a first-ever default on U.S. obligations.