President Barack Obama, seeking to revive a deficit-reduction deal with congressional Republicans, said his $3.8 trillion spending plan for fiscal 2014 would both shrink the deficit and ensure future economic growth.
“We can do both,” Obama said at the White House this morning as his administration released details of a budget blueprint setting out his priorities for spending and taxes.
“Our economy is poised for progress as long as Washington doesn’t get in the way,” he said. “If we want to keep rebuilding our economy on a stronger, more stable foundation then we’ve got to get smarter about our priorites.”
The president is proposing to replace across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration with what White House budget officials say is $1.8 trillion in additional deficit reduction over 10 years that includes collecting more taxes from the wealthy and trimming some federal programs. It also proposes more spending for infrastructure, research and education.
For the first time, Obama is including in his budget an offer made last year to congressional Republicans to change the cost-of-living calculation for Social Security and tax brackets, which would increase benefits more slowly and subjected more income to taxation.
“I don’t believe that all these ideas are optimal, but I’m willing to accept them as part of a compromise if, and only if, they contain protections for the most vulnerable Americans,” Obama said.
The budget plan was hitting resistance even before its release as Republicans in Congress repeated their opposition to raising tax revenue and some Democrats criticized the president’s proposal to reduce cost-of-living benefit increases in Social Security.
“The president got his tax hikes in January,” House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said this morning at the Capitol. “We don’t need to be raising taxes on the American people.”
He also said the president deserves “some credit” for proposing changes to cut the cost of entitlement programs and that he still hopes to reach a budget agreement with the White House.
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