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Budget panel at odds on spending benefits

Feb. 19, 2012 at 2:51 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Top members of the U.S. House Budget Committee predicted slow going in the coming debate over President Obama's budget proposal Sunday.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., both accused their colleagues on the opposite sides of the aisle of intransigence and dogmatic partisanship and blamed it for the seeming lack of progress in getting spending under control and the economy back on track.

Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Democrats refused to trim spending to offset the extension of the payroll tax cut. "What just drives me crazy is we couldn't get the Democrats in the Senate and the White House to support cutting $100 billion over 10 years to make sure that this did not hurt the deficit," he said.

Van Hollen, the committee's ranking Democrat, countered by arguing continued slashing of government spending would end up slowing the economy down and aggravating the unemployment problem.

"It [payroll tax cut] will help economic growth," Van Hollen said. "It could add up to 1 percent GDP this year. You are putting more money in the pockets of the American people, and they can go out and spend that money buying goods and services."

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