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Obama's debt plan

Posted by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 10:35 AM
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President Obama will focus on four items in today's speech on reducing the federal debt, the White House says in a statement: Lower domestic spending, less defense spending, excess spending in Medicare and Medicaid, and elimination of tax breaks that favor the wealthy.

Medicare and taxes are likely to be the most controversial: Liberal groups such as MoveOn.org have warned Obama against making changes to Medicare; congressional Republicans have said that Obama's calls for tax reform amount to a call for tax hikes.

Obama will also "borrow" many of the recommendations made by his bipartisan fiscal commission, the White House said in a statement, but it did not detail which specific proposals the president will endorse.

"The President will advocate a balanced approach to controlling out of control deficits and restoring fiscal responsibility while protecting the investments we need to grow our economy, create jobs, and win the future," said the statement.

Obama's speech is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

By Charles Dharapak, AP

A few hours beforehand, Obama will brief bipartisan members of the congressional leadership on his speech.

Some Republicans are already offering "pre-act" to Obama's remarks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he hopes the president offers more than a "vision" for reducing the nation's $14 trillion-plus debt, but he's not particularly optimistic:

"What we're likely to get instead is a broad-brush notion of what the President wants to see -- a vision that includes calls for strengthening entitlement programs that few people would disagree with but which will never come about absent Presidential leadership; a partisan call for tax hikes on struggling job creators, and, I fear, a call for tax hikes on energy producers when gas prices are already creating heavy burdens for so many."

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who like McConnell will be at this morning's White House meeting, touted the Republican budget plan put together by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., saying it would cut $4.4 trillion in federal spending over a decade.

Boehner also took a shot at Obama's call to end the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy Americans, including individuals who make more than $200,000 a year and couples who make more than $250,000.

"You can't tax the very people we expect to re-invest in our economy and create jobs," Boehner said. "Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem."

The White House did not provide many details in its preview of the Obama speech:

The President will advocate a balanced approach to controlling out of control deficits and restoring fiscal responsibility while protecting the investments we need to grow our economy, create jobs, and win the future. The President's proposal will build off of the deficit reduction measures included in his 2012 budget and will borrow from the recommendations of the bipartisan Fiscal Commission he created.

The President will lay out four steps to achieve this balanced approach, including: keeping domestic spending low, finding additional savings in our defense budget, reducing excess health care spending while strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, and tax reform that reduces spending in our tax code.

The President will make clear that while we all share the goal of reducing our deficit and putting our nation back on a fiscally responsible path, his vision is one where we can live within our means without putting burdens on the middle class and seniors or impeding our ability to invest in our future.

                


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by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 10:35 AM
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