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U.S. Chamber opposed to Senate Democrats' sequester replacement bill

February 28, 2013
The Hill
Vicki Needham

A top business group is opposing a bill proposed by Senate Democrats to partly replace scheduled cuts with tax increases. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday that it strongly opposes the legislation, which is set for a Thursday vote, because it "would fail to address the federal government’s spending problems and would, instead, replace spending cuts with tax increases."

"The Chamber has long stated that the sequester is bad public policy and should be replaced with prioritized spending cuts," said Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs, in a letter to the Senate on Wednesday. 

The Democratic package would pay for the $85 billion cost with an equal combination of tax increases and replacement spending cuts. 

"But, this legislation would be worse than even the sequester," Josten wrote. "It would not prioritize less spending; rather, it would impose new taxes on businesses in specific industries. Like the sequester, this approach is not the answer."

Josten argues that the tax hike that was borne out of negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff legislation has already put a heavy tax burden on businesses. 

The Senate is expected to vote on a alternative Republican proposal, as well, on Thursday that would give President Obama greater flexibility in dealing with the cuts, which are set to into effect on Friday. 

Neither the Democratic nor Republican bills are expected to pass. 

The president has scheduled a meeting with House and Senate leaders on Friday to discuss a possible way forward on the issue that had deadlocked lawmakers despite their desire to avoid the scheduled sequester. 


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