Top Dem Dogs Ready to Retool Obama's Budget

Prez lets lawmakers take the lead—and they have their own ideas
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Mar 10, 2009 10:00 AM CDT
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad, D-ND, talks with reporters Jan. 11, 2009, on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – To clear Congress, President Obama’s budget is going to have to survive committee turf wars and parochial interests—and that’s just the Democrats. The New York Times reports that key committee chairmen in the House and Senate have ideas of their own on health care, energy, and taxes. “The legislative process requires compromise and being open to different alternatives,” says House Energy chair Henry Waxman.

The hardest sell might be Obama’s proposal to limit deductions for the wealthiest taxpayers, with Sen. Max Baucus and Rep. Charlie Rangel worried about philanthropy. Rangel is also jostling with Waxman over a piece of the energy action, and Baucus is doing the same with Ted Kennedy on health care. Meanwhile, Budget chair Sen. Kent Conrad doesn’t like Obama’s cuts in agricultural subsidies.