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Donnelly, two dozen senators seeking budget solution

Indiana’s junior senator says he and about two dozen colleagues are trying to craft a balanced plan to avoid the sequester. Democrat Joe Donnelly says the bipartisan group of senators is meeting as concerned citizens and not politicians.

“You know, if no one else is going to write the bill, we’ll write the next bill, and we’ll put something together with revenue and with spending reductions. If it gets voted off the floor, so be it, but we have to stay in this.”

He says revenues would include the so-called Buffett Rule, named after billionaire Warren Buffett. That sets a minimum 30% tax rate for people with an adjusted gross income of more than $1 million after charitable contributions are deducted. He says the proposed Farm Bill allows for savings of approximately $27 billion over ten years.

Donnelly says Hoosiers will feel the effects of the reductions in spending in everything from education to public safety. Although it might not be felt immediately.

Spending on Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare must be addressed in a balanced budget. Donnelly says ignoring those programs would not be fair.

“Entitlements need to be discussed and it needs to be a bipartisan discussion,” he says. “How do we make them sustainable on a long-term basis and how do we make it so they fit in the budget.”

He says the automatic budget cuts taking place Friday cannot be avoided, but he hopes Congress can reach a sustainable solution before most of the impact is felt.

The White House estimates Indiana would lose around $150 million in federal funding for such things as education, public health and safety, and Department of Defense operations in the state.

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