Obama to lay out deficit plan with focus on tax, spending

13. 04. 2011

Obama to lay out deficit plan with focus on tax, spending

Obama, accused of laying low on an issue that polls show will be a major factor in the 2012 presidential election, will explain his vision for tackling the long-term deficit and debt in a speech in Washington at 1:35 p.m.

He will try to regain control of the spending debate by drawing a sharp contrast with a Republican proposal unveiled last week to lower the deficit by $4.4 trillion over the next 10 years. That proposal calls for steep cuts in spending and lower taxes for businesses and individuals.



"This is an opportunity to use the bully pulpit to frame the choice rather than let the debate run away from them," said Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' Budget Committee.

The White House, which also wants Congress to raise the country's borrowing limit before a $14.3 trillion debt ceiling is reached as early as mid-May, says the Republican deficit plan unfairly favors the rich over ordinary Americans.


"What is not acceptable ... is a plan that achieves serious deficit reduction only by asking for sacrifice from the middle class ... while providing substantial tax cuts to the very well-off," White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Tuesday.

The International Monetary Fund urged the United States on Tuesday to outline credible measures to reduce deficits.


Obama's budget proposal for next year already includes allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire for American families making more than $250,000 a year.

He reluctantly agreed to extend those tax breaks for two years in a compromise with Republicans in December to preserve tax cuts for less well-off families, as well as jobless aid and other benefits that he favored.

But Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement on Tuesday that "tax increases are unacceptable and a nonstarter. We don't have deficits because Americans are taxed too little, we have deficits because Washington spends too much."





Obama will also acknowledge that reform of entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid for elderly and poor Americans must be included in a broad assault on the deficit.

"We need to consider all three legs of the stool when we're dealing with the deficit. And that's entitlements, tax expenditures and defense spending," Carney said.


Republicans have seized on references to the reform of entitlement spending as an admission that Obama had reversed course on cutting programs held sacred by Democrats, but they remained skeptical he was sincere.

"Too often, it seems, Democrats in Washington claim to be interested in helping those in need, when what they really seek is to protect big government," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.


SOURCE: Reuters