Washington (CNN) – As lawmakers continue looking for ways to reduce the federal deficit, House Democratic leaders remain committed to a program that includes tax increases and some spending cuts.
That was the message from Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said Sunday that cuts, if they come, must be from subsidies to oil companies rather than from Medicaid, Social Security or Pell grants.
"What we do need is more revenue, and more cuts, but I would like to see that a big, balanced, bold proposal," Pelosi said on "Fox News Sunday." She reiterated her stance that Republicans are promoting a "false argument" by saying America has a spending problem.
"What we need is growth," she said, pointing to increased income tax revenue that would be generated if more Americans head back to work. "We need growth with jobs. And if you have spending cuts, the education of our children, other investments, on the National Institutes of Health, where you are hindering growth, you're not going to reduce the deficit," Pelosi continued.
Democrats and Republicans are currently locked in a battle over how best to reduce the ballooning federal debt, with Democrats in favor of raising tax rates on wealthy Americans and Republicans pushing for cuts in spending, including to Medicare, the health insurance program for older Americans.
Pelosi said Sunday she was opposed to raising the eligibility age for Medicare, currently at 65, arguing instead for slowing the rise of medical costs.
"Don't you think you ought to see if raising the age really does save money?" Pelosi asked. "Those people are not going to evaporate from the face of the Earth for two years. They're going to have medical needs and they're going to have to be attended to. And the earlier intervention for it, the less the cost will be and the better the quality of life."