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Senate Democrats to Present Jobs Agenda, Support Spending Freeze

Senate Democrats plan to lay out their jobs agenda Wednesday while endorsing President Barack Obama’s call for a five-year discretionary spending freeze, a leadership aide said Tuesday.

“We’ll be proposing a list of pro-growth jobs proposals that fit with the president’s framework from the State of the Union of out-educating, out-innovating and out-building to win the future,” the aide said.

Senate Democratic leaders will also meet with Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden in the Oval Office at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, according to the White House. Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Conference Secretary Patty Murray (Wash.) are expected to attend.

The jobs agenda will include items on education, training, infrastructure, manufacturing and clean energy, and most of the proposals have garnered at least some bipartisan support in previous Congresses, the aide said. The leadership will commit to finding budget cuts elsewhere to pay for the new spending proposals under the president’s spending freeze, according to the aide.

“We believe that represents a responsible alternative to the extremes coming from House Republicans,” the aide added. The House GOP will vote this week on legislation that would cap spending in fiscal 2011 at $100 billion less than Obama’s budget request for that fiscal year.

Backing Obama’s freeze instead, which saves $400 billion over a decade, “represents a good-faith demonstration by us that we are serious about reducing the deficit,” the aide said.

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