U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has an idea to unravel the across-the-board spending cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act. His proposal would raise taxes on the wealthy and eliminate tax breaks for oil and gas companies as a way to offset the spending cuts, slated to take effect on Jan. 2.
Van Hollen's proposal would raise $46.7 billion by creating a minimum tax rate for people earning more than $1 million a year. It would also raise $26.5 billion by ending direct payments to farmers, and would raise a total of $38.2 billion by ending tax breaks for oil companies.
The Republican bill from Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), H.R. 5652, seeks to repeal defense cuts under the sequester, and move those cuts to programs that West's office says are "lower priority" spending programs. Under the sequester, approx. $109 billion in cuts to both defense and non-defense programs are required by January.
Earlier this year, the House approved the Sequester Replacement Act, which would maintain the same level of cuts at $109 billion, but would restructure those cuts to avoid defense cuts. That bill shifted the spending cuts to mandatory spending programs such as food stamps and other social programs.