The Oregon liberal added that Democrats are on the same page when it comes to opposing the Ryan budget — much as House Democrats voted unanimously against the $61 billion in 2011 cuts GOP leaders had proposed earlier in the year.

For his part, Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, conceded that "there are always degrees of differences" among the Democrats. Still, when it comes to countering the Ryan budget, Larson said, the numerous Democratic proposals won't muddle the party's message. 

"We're closer together than we are apart," Larson said Wednesday. "We don't always have complete unanimity, but we have unity."


Friday primer: In all, the House is scheduled to vote on five amendments to the Ryan plan:

  • The Congressional Black Caucus budget, which would raise taxes on the wealthy and close a number of corporate tax loopholes, would save $1.3 trillion relative to the Ryan plan and $5.7 trillion more than Obama's — without cutting safety-net programs, CBC members said.
  • The Progressive Caucus plan, which takes similar steps, would create a $31 billion surplus by 2021, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal policy shop.
  • The Democratic leadership alternative is said to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion more than President Obama’s 2012 budget by focusing more heavily on cuts to the Pentagon.
  • The Republican Study Committee budget would balance the federal budget by 2021 by cutting $9.1 trillion in spending.
  • And the most interesting of the quintet might be from Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), whose amendment would put the bipartisan recommendations of the president’s fiscal commission into law.

The counterattack: Democratic groups are lining up their own events, as they try to compete with Ryan's day in the sun. In the morning, the Campaign for America's Future is hosting a conference call with reporters to dissect the GOP budget proposal. 

Around the same time, the Center for America Progress Action Fund is hosting an event devoted to its take on how to grow the economy via responsible fiscal policy. Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetAmeriCorps hurricane heroes deserve a reward — don’t tax it Joe Buck defends 'nonviolent protests' at NFL games Patriotism is no defense for Trump’s attacks on black athletes MORE (D-Colo.) is scheduled to contribute to that discussion.

Talking a little trade: Alexei Kudrin, Russia’s deputy prime minister, is expected to give an address on "The Russian Economy and Trade" at the Peterson Institute. Kudrin, a strong proponent of Russian WTO accession, is set to be joined by Mike McFaul, senior director of National Security Council.

The administration is preparing Congress for a vote this year on dealing with Russia and the WTO, and Kudrin’s remarks should give a better sense of where talks on the issue stand.

More on the international scene: G-20 finance ministers are scheduled to meet Friday in Washington, on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank spring meetings. The group is considering guidelines for economic imbalances that China fears could be a way to pressure it to allow the value of the yuan to float.

Economic indicators: 

  • The Fed is set to drop industrial production figures.
  • The Labor Department is slated to circulate March’s Consumer Price Index. 
  • And the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment is set to be released and should provide a glimpse at consumer confidence in current economic conditions.


Whoops!: The president conceded to ABC News that his vote against raising the debt ceiling as a senator was political and that he only truly grasped the severity of that situation when he moved into the Oval Office.  

Coincidence or not?: Who knows? But a day after getting slammed in a Senate report for its pre-financial crisis actions, Goldman Sachs stock fell more than 2.5 percent on Thursday (to a still healthy $155.79 a share). For the record, the Dow stayed roughly flat, rising 0.12 percent. 

Soak the rich!: “Do you think our government should or should not redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich?” Gallup finds Americans about split over the question, with 47 percent responding in the affirmative and 49 percent saying no. (Perhaps not surprisingly, Democrats were far more likely to say yes than Republicans or independents.)

Previous polls have shown some efforts to raise taxes on the wealthy are popular: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll from earlier this year found about eight in 10 adults deemed it acceptable for people making at least a $1 million to be charged a surtax. 

Don’t leave us hanging!: Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee are looking for assurances that the panel will get to mark up any legislation that would raise the debt ceiling. In a letter to Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBernie Sanders flexes power on single-payer ObamaCare architect supports single-payer system Trump has yet to travel west as president MORE (D-Mont.), the committee’s chairman, the GOP lawmakers noted that the last increase skipped the panel on its way to the Senate floor. 


On the Money’s Thursday:

Panamanian legislature paves the way for completion of U.S. trade deal.

Ryan on Obama’s deficit speech: He entered the “partisan mosh pit.”

Pooh-poohed: GOP gives feedback to Obama proposal on new deficit negotiators. 

But Simpson and Bowles are onboard with Obama. 

HFSC says FSOC is AWOL on SIFIs. 

Grover Norquist thinks a repatriation holiday could be the biggest tax policy change this Congress. 

Study done for Business Roundtable finds U.S. corporations paying comparatively high effective tax rates. 

A majority of Americans think their tax bill is fair

Tom CoburnTom Coburn-trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground Al Franken: 'I make fun of the people who deserved it' The more complex the tax code, the more the wealthy benefit MORE and Michael Bennet target paper W-2s.

Initial jobless claims unexpectedly rise

while consumer confidence rose again.