People of Northwest Public Radio
Mon February 13, 2012
Obama Unveils New Budget, As Republicans Gird For Battle
President Obama unveiled a spending plan aimed at trimming $4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade, while boosting spending to programs to stimulate the still-ailing U.S. economy.
"At a time when our economy is growing and creating jobs at a faster pace, our job is to keep things on track," Obama told an audience at a Northern Virginia community college.
"I am proposing some difficult cuts that frankly, I wouldn't be proposing if I didn't have to," he said.
But he said, the nation could not simply cut its way to growth.
"We need to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share for the things we do need," he said.
Referring to the so-called Buffet Rule proposal requiring the wealthy to pay more taxes, he said "it's not class warfare, it's common sense."
But the battle lines were already being drawn on Monday, insuring more deadlock between Congress and the White House.
Before the president's speech, Republicans had already gotten in line to shoot holes in the budget proposal. Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, said the president seemed like he had "decided again to campaign instead of govern.
"He's just going to duck the responsibility to tackle this country's fiscal problems," Ryan said.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats did not want to vote on the spending plan, so he would once again put it forward for a Senate vote where he predicted it would fail as it did last year.
In a nutshell, here's the president's plan calls for:
-- Capping annual appropriations approved in August to save $1 trillion over the next decade.
-- Allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of this year for families making $250,000 or more per year, effectively adding $1.5 trillion in new tax revenue.
-- Eliminating tax deductions on the wealthiest taxpayers and enacting the Buffett rule to ensure households with an annual income in excess of $1 million pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.
-- Imposing a new $61 billion tax over 10 years on big banks aimed at recovering the costs of the financial bailout and providing money to help homeowners facing foreclosure on their homes.
-- Eliminating tax breaks for oil, gas and coal companies.
-- Spending an additional $476 billion on transportation projects, including efforts to expand inner-city rail services.
-- A $50 billion "upfront" investment for transportation, $30 billion to modernize at least 35,000 schools and $30 billion to help states hire teachers and police, rescue and fire department workers.