New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a key architect of the budget plan released by the White House on Tuesday, said Republicans’ plan would “take us back to a place where the majority of Americans do not believe that we can have an economy where every American has a fair shot at the American dream”.
Mr Schumer said that despite the Trump administration’s push to tackle rising inequality, the country’s working-class people were the ones left out of the deal.
“This is what we call a recipe for failure,” he said.
“We’ve got to have a national conversation about how to grow the middle class and get us out of this economic mess.”
He called on Congress to pass a budget that would end the US tax and transfer programs for the working class, and put a stop to the federal government’s role in funding education and healthcare.
“I want to say something to our Republican colleagues: we can make this happen,” he told the New York Times.
“If we get together and get it done, I don’t think there’s going to be a day when we’re not going to have this discussion again.”
The budget blueprint released on Tuesday would make significant cuts to key government programs, including those helping the poor, elderly and disabled, which Mr Schumer referred to as “dysfunctional”.
The proposed budget would cut $10bn from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, $2.5bn from Nasa and $7.5 billion from the National Institutes of Health.
It would also impose a 2.5 per cent tax on households earning over $200,000, which would disproportionately affect low-income households.
The budget also proposes to slash funding for the US National Institutes for Health by $1.6 billion, cut funding for Medicaid by $800m and reduce the number of children receiving free or reduced-price lunches by $200m.
Mr Schumer also said he would oppose any legislation that would make the US government pay for abortions, including the Planned Parenthood funding cuts and the defunding of the Affordable Care Act.
“We’re not getting anything done,” Mr Schumer told the Times.
In a separate interview, Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he had a “tremendous amount of respect” for Mr Schumer’s efforts to combat rising inequality.
He told Fox News: “I think he’s done a tremendous job with his platform and his principles and he’s gotten a lot of support from the American people, including Republicans.”
Mr Corker, who is up for re-election next year, said that he was pleased to see a Democratic senator “put forward a plan that will make our country fairer, not more unequal”.
“But there’s no denying the fact that it’s a very important step in the right direction,” he added.
However, Democrats say Republicans will not have the votes to pass their budget if Republicans control both the House and the Senate.
The budget will need to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Donald Trump to become law.