Obama's budget proposal to spend $300 billion, slash $1 trillion
WASHINGTON — President Obama introduced a 10-year budget blueprint on Wednesday that calls for nearly $300 billion in new spending on jobs, public works and expanded preschool education and nearly $800 billion in new taxes, including an extra 94 cents a pack on cigarettes.
But the president's spending plan would also cut more than $1 trillion from programs across the federal government — for the first time targeting Social Security benefits — in an effort to persuade congressional Republicans to join him in finishing the job of debt reduction they started two years ago.
“Our economy is poised for progress, as long as Washington doesn't get in the way,” Obama said in announcing his budget plan in the White House Rose Garden. He said his budget represents “a fiscally responsible blueprint for middle-class jobs and growth.”
His fiscal year 2014 budget replaces “the foolish across-the-board spending cuts” known as the sequester that are “already hurting our economy,” Obama said. The plan reduces the deficit and makes necessary investments “because we can do both,” he said. “We can grow our economy and shrink our deficits.
“The numbers work. There's not a lot of smoke and mirrors in here.”
Obama urged Republicans to show they are serious about deficit reduction by reforming the tax code to eliminate loopholes that benefit the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.
“If you're serious about deficit reduction, then there's no excuse to keep these loopholes open,” the president said. “They don't serve an economic purpose. They don't grow our economy. They don't put people back to work. All they do is to allow folks who are already well off and well connected to game the system.”
He vowed that he would not “finish the job of deficit reduction on the backs of middle class families or through spending cuts alone that actually hurt our economy short term.”
Obama warned: “When it comes to deficit reduction, I've already met Republicans more than halfway.”
Congressional Republicans promptly attacked the plan.
“We don't need an extreme, unbalanced budget that won't balance in your lifetime or mine,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a floor speech before Obama's Rose Garden announcement. “It looks like there's less than $600 billion worth of reduction in there — and that's over a decade — all of it coming from tax increases. In other words, it's not a serious plan. For the most part, just another left-wing wish list.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a statement that he was “disappointed by the president's proposal because it merely ratifies the status quo.”
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said it was “overstuffed with spending and tax increases that will continue to hinder economic growth.”