POLITICS -- February 14, 2011 at 8:34 AM EDT
President Obama's Opening Bid for 2012 Budget: $3.73 Trillion
Updated 11 a.m. ET
See video of the president's remarks:
Jack Lew, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, explains President Obama's 2012 budget on the White House website.
President Obama's message of "Winning the Future" in his State of the Union address was the poetry.
Now comes the prose.
It comes in the form of his 2012 budget, which will be delivered to Capitol Hill (in a television friendly manner) Monday and will be at the heart of the president's remarks at 10:20 a.m. at Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology in Baltimore.
If you're looking for a budget plan that tackles the longterm structural challenges of America's debt and deficit laden balance sheets, you won't find it here.
The president's budget deals primarily with the 16 percent of the budget that is non-security discretionary spending. It doesn't address entitlement spending nor does it address real cuts in spending on defense and homeland security.
The president's plan now sets up much of the political dynamic of 2011 and begs this question: Is this a blueprint that can spark real negotiation and compromise between the White House and Republicans or is this the opening shot in another year of calculated stalemate? (The New York Times' Jackie Calmes seems to think it is the former.)
Here are the top line numbers from the Associated Press:
"President Barack Obama is sending Congress a $3.73 trillion spending blueprint that pledges $1.1 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade through spending cuts and tax increases."
"Obama's new budget projects that the deficit for the current year will surge to an all-time high of $1.65 trillion. That reflects a sizable tax-cut agreement reached with Republicans in December. For 2012, the administration sees the imbalance declining to $1.1 trillion, giving the country a record four straight years of $1 trillion-plus deficits."
The Washington Post notes the hundreds of billions of dollars of tax hikes in the president's plan:
"Obama also would raise hundreds of billions of dollars in fresh revenue, which Republicans adamantly oppose. He would increase taxes on the wealthy by limiting the value of their itemized deductions and by allowing the recently extended George W. Bush-era tax breaks to expire in 2012. He would end subsidies for oil and gas companies, and would eliminate certain tax breaks for corporations that do business overseas. And he assumes that Congress will develop a plan to pay for a $556 billion transportation bill, a measure traditionally funded by increasing the federal tax on gasoline."
President Obama's man on the job, Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew, took to the airwaves Monday morning to begin selling the plan.
"It is a balanced package with shared pain and with deficit reduction," Lew told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America."
"This is a responsible plan that cuts spending, but also reduces the deficit," Lew said, adding, "We live within in our means and invest in the future."
Republicans are eager to portray President Obama as avoiding the big problems by not dealing with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and defense spending. They are less eager to point out that they haven't presented a party-endorsed plan to attack those very same problems.
On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called President Obama's budget "disappointing."
"It deals with 12 percent of federal spending, it raises taxes, and it ignores the recommendations of his own fiscal commission. We've got to do this on a bipartisan basis. It's the only way it's going to get done, dealing particularly with the entitlement problems, then Republicans are ready to meet him halfway. But right now he seems to be very timid about taking the leadership role that the president typically takes in these battles," Sen. Cornyn said.
Be sure to tune into the PBS NewsHour Monday night to see OMB Director Lew discuss the president's budget and the GOP response.
DNC HITS BACK
President Obama was on the receiving end of a fair amount of criticism by the lineup of potential Republican presidential candidates who addressed the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference that wrapped up Saturday in Washington.
On Monday, the Democratic National Committee plans to throw a political punch of its own, releasing a video that contrasts the remarks of various CPAC speakers with those of the president and leading Democrats, seeking to frame the debate heading into 2012 as one about the past versus the future.
The clips include former House speaker Newt Gingrich calling for an entity to replace the Environmental Protection Agency and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty demanding the repeal of the health care bill. Those are then followed with recent comments from the president about how he sees this as "America's moment to win the future."
For more on CPAC, check out Judy Woodruff's report on the gathering, and compare the dueling analyses of the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and POLITICO's Alexander Burns on the event's winners and losers.
FLAKE IS IN
Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., will announce Monday that he will seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jon Kyl, the Arizona Republic reports.
Rep. Flake is expected to make the decision official at an 10 a.m. ET news conference in Phoenix. It comes after Sen. Kyl announced last Thursday that he would not seek a fourth term in 2012.
Rep. Flake, who was first elected to the House in 2000, is a staunch opponent of earmarks, or spending directed by lawmakers to home-state projects.
Former GOP congressman John Shadegg ruled out a run Friday, but Rep. Flake will likely draw plenty of competition for the GOP nomination.
Kyl's retirement also has Democrats taking another look at the seat. One name that has emerged is Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who reportedly had expressed an interest in running for the Senate before she was severely wounded in the shooting Jan. 8.
Giffords continues to recover in Houston and no indication has been given as to when she will be able to return to Congress or if she would still consider a Senate bid.
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