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GOP Sen. Enzi proposes modest deficit curbs in new budget

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior Senate Republican Friday unveiled a five-year budget plan that would modestly curb budget deficits that would otherwise soon breach $1 trillion, while rejecting President Donald Trump's gimmick of using war funding to sustain big increases for the Pentagon.

Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said the nonbinding blueprint is a "responsible first step" toward curbing budget deficits "by reducing overspending and setting real, achievable deficit reduction targets."

Enzi's plan would slow so-called mandatory spending by $551 billion over the next five years and reject Trump's plan to declare $174 billion as an emergency to get around automatic spending cuts. It would ease the deficit from a projection of $903 billion this year to $748 billion in 2024. It is set for a committee vote next week.

"Strengthening America's future for our children and grandchildren begins by putting our nation on a more sustainable fiscal path," Enzi said. Under Capitol Hill's arcane ways, the annual congressional budget blueprint lays out tax and spending goals but it takes follow-up legislation to actually enact them. Democrats controlling the House have yet to unveil their alternative plan amid differences within the party over expensive progressive initiatives like "Medicare for all."

Enzi's plan leaves in place tight "caps" on spending that would force cuts to both the Pentagon and domestic programs, but it holds out the possibility for more defense spending if lawmakers can scrounge up matching spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.

In any event, it's unlikely that the measure would serve as the basis for any budget deal since the GOP-held Senate and Democratic-controlled House are unlikely to forge an agreement on it.

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