Congress is looking ahead to negotiating the 2012 federal budget as a deal nears on the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year budget, with House Republican leadership outlining its goals and a top Democrat saying the Tea Party has had some effect on previous budget talks, but said lawmakers misread their own constituents in seeking larger cuts than were possible in the 2011 fiscal year.
The look ahead comes as House and Senate negotiators attempt to finish work on a budget extension that would fund the federal government until September 30, the end of the fiscal year. Congress has until April 8 to pass a budget before some federal services are shut down for lack of funding.
Over the weekend House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled the 2012 budget, which seeks $4 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade and will make a proposal to reduce the rate of growth of health spending programs Medicare and Medicaid. His proposal is in contrast to Obama's 2012 budget which aims for $1.1 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years.
House Speaker John Boehner also alluded to the 2012 budget when he said Republicans would be looking to stop a $1.5 trillion tax hike which President Barack Obama has called for in his budget next year.
This tax hike will affect every family and business in America. And it will destroy jobs, Boehner said.
Boehner said Republicans would also seek to extract concessions for raising the federal debt limit.
If the President gets his wish, it would send the message that America has no plan to deal with her spending illness, and that's going to have the effect again, of destroying more jobs he said.
Other Republican battles will include reducing government red tape and approving stalled trade agreements.
Schumer on the Tea Party Effect
New York Sen. Charles Schumer - the third ranking Democratic Senator - said the Republican party had not gone along with proposals from the Tea Party for greater cuts in the 2011 budget.
The good news here is that the Republican leadership is already turning the page, Schumer told CNN on Monday. They realize that they can't go along with the Tea Party and that the arguments that we've been making both about the Tea Party being extreme and about where the budget should be are going to carry the day.
Schumer said Boehner's negotiators for the 2011 budget are currently working with a $33 billion target for cuts, which includes $10 billion which has already been passed in recent weeks. Republicans initially sought as much as $61 billion in budget cuts.
Boehner has not publicly acknowledged any deal yet, saying nothing is done.
Now you've heard Democrat leaders have claimed an agreement has been reached on this issue. But let me be clear, there is no agreement, he said.
Schumer said Boehner was being silent about any agreement until it was done.
So he's holding his fire 'til the whole agreement is reached but we're making very good progress to agree on the number. It's right in the middle, half way between Democrats and Republicans. It's what the House leadership, Republican leadership had asked for before the Tea Party people in the Congress in the House moved it way over. So it's a reasonable number. We'll get there.
Boehner said Republicans - who are the majority in the House - had kept pressure on Senate Democrats and the White House and were being forced to talk about a bill that would cut tens of billions of dollars more.
He said the savings over the next decade would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Now this is nowhere near enough but it's a clear change in direction, he said.