Sen. Tom Coburn released a $9 trillion "Back in Black" deficit reduction plan Monday that would gore government programs and tax breaks large and small.
The plan would cut $1 trillion in tax breaks that the Oklahoma Republican considers "socialist" spending, although it would be considered a tax increase by anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist. Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform, attacked the plan Monday. "It's now clear Senator Coburn's plan all along was a trillion dollar tax hike," the group said in a statement.
Coburn said it doesn’t make sense to say it’s OK to cut spending when it’s part of an appropriations bill, but not when it is tucked into the tax code. “That’s just ludicrous. It’s idiocy,” he said.
He also said that solving the nation's spiraling debt problem must take priority.
"Doing nothing is a tax increase," he said, adding that if he were negotiating with President Barack Obama, he would seek a compromise of new revenue and spending cuts.
He criticized the "Plan B" proposal from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would allow the debt ceiling to be raised without a guarantee of deficit reduction, calling it a "punt."
Coburn also includes $1 trillion in defense spending cuts — more than even Senate Democrats have proposed — contending that the threat of China owning U.S. debt is a bigger national security risk than going to war with China.
He also would cut $2.64 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid over the next decade — far more than has been proposed to date.
Coburn acknowledged that his plan isn't going to be enacted, but said he hoped the ideas in it — which he said he and his staff pulled from various commission and agency recommendations — are "a treasure trove of how to solve our problems."
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.