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Senate Democrats' budget seeks $1.85 trillion in savings: source

People walk toward the U.S. Capitol in Washington March 4, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
People walk toward the U.S. Capitol in Washington March 4, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats on Wednesday will unveil a budget blueprint that attempts to slice federal deficits by $1.85 trillion over 10 years through an equal mix of spending cuts and tax increases on the rich, according to a Democratic source.

The fiscal plan, which will be debated by the Senate Budget Committee this week, is the Democrats' answer to a Republican budget set forth in the House of Representatives that claims to reach balance in 10 years through deep cuts to domestic programs and without any tax increases beyond those approved on January 1.

The plan authored by the Senate Budget Committee's Democratic chairwoman, Patty Murray, aims to speed jobs growth, calling for $100 billion in new spending on crumbling roads and bridges and worker training.

It would also fully replace automatic spending cuts with savings elsewhere, the source said, preventing the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

"While House Republicans are doubling down on the extreme budget that the American people already rejected, Senate Democrats are going to be working on a responsible pro-growth budget that reflects the values and priorities of middle class families across the country," Murray said in a statement.

The plan includes $975 billion in new tax revenues achieved by closing tax loopholes, deductions and credits that benefit wealthy Americans and large corporations, but the source declined to provide further details.

Murray's budget, expected to be the first Senate budget passed in nearly four years, would also include $975 billion in spending cuts. Some $493 billion of these would come from domestic spending, including $275 billion in health care savings. The budget would cut $240 billion from defense spending and include a $242 billion reduction in interest payments.

The budget plan is not expected to reach balance during the 10-year budget window. Senate Democratic aides said earlier that Murray's goals were to shrink deficits to sustainable levels and bring stronger growth to the economy.

But added to previous deficit reduction in the 2011 Budget Control Act and January's fiscal cliff tax increases, Democrats claim Murray's budget will shrink the deficit by $4.25 trillion, exceeding a 2010 fiscal commission's prescription for $4 trillion in 10-year budget savings.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and David Lawder; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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