Republicans in the U.S. Congress are calling for $2.2 trillion in deficit-reduction cuts, including significant cuts to healthcare programs for the elderly and poor, along with tax changes that they argue would boost the economy, congressional aides said Thursday.

The plan offered by Republicans, who serve on a congressional “super committee” tasked with slashing deficits , calls for cuts to the Medicare and Medicaid health programs for the poor and elderly and other health and welfare programs.

In contrast to a Democratic plan that has an almost even balance between spending cuts and tax increases, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner told reporters the focus should be almost exclusively on cutting benefit programs. He also rejected the idea of additional defense spending cuts.

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