Obama Campaigns Delays Budget Release by a Week…. And Then..
Obama Sequestration Request Calling For Short-Term Budget Fix To Delay Automatic Cuts
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for a short-term deficit reduction package of spending cuts and tax revenue that will delay the effective date of steeper automatic cuts now scheduled to kick in on March 1. Obama said the looming cuts would be economically damaging and must be avoided.
The president reiterated his insistence on long-term deficit reduction that combines taxes and cuts, a blend that faces stiff resistance from anti-tax Republicans in Congress.
Obama made his case Tuesday afternoon in the White House briefing room, just minutes after the Congressional Budget Office released revised budget projections that showed the deficit will drop to $845 billion this year, the first time during Obama’s presidency that the red ink would fall below $1 trillion. The budget office also said the economy will grow slowly in 2013, hindered by a tax increase enacted in January and by the automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect this spring.
It is those cuts that Obama is seeking to put off with less onerous measures. Neither the president nor White House aides specified what those measures should be.
“There’s no reason that the jobs of thousands of American who work in national security or education or clean energy, not to mention the growth of the entire economy, should be put in jeopardy just because folks in Washington couldn’t come together to eliminate a few special interest tax loopholes or government programs that we agree need some reform,” he said.
Obama said Congress needs more time to work out a 10-year plan worth more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction. Obama did not place a time span or a dollar amount on the short-term plan. Officials said he will leave that to Congress.
His request comes as some congressional Republicans were signaling that they might allow the automatic cuts to kick in as the only viable means of achieving deficit reduction, even though it cut into programs they support, such as defense.
The president’s request would continue what has become a common practice in Washington – dealing with fiscal issues in small steps in hopes that over time Congress and the administration are able to agree on broader and more lasting policies. In his remarks, Obama alluded to the incremental nature of the work ahead.
“Let’s keep on chipping away at this problem together, as Democrats and Republicans, to give our workers and our businesses the support that they need to thrive in the weeks and months ahead,” Obama said.
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The Obama administration announced January 23rd it will release its proposed budget Feb. 13, a week later than scheduled.
“As in previous years, the date was determined based on the need to finalize decisions and technical details of the document,” said an announcement from the Office of Management and Budget.
(OMB also announced it will not be providing free bound copies of the document to the media, calling it a cost-saving measure.)
Congressional Republicans blasted the delayed budget. Under federal law, the president must submit a budget by the first Monday in February. As a result, that last day before the deadline has become the de facto date.
But Obama violated the law last year with a one-week delay, and he’s doing it again this year.
“This will mark the third time in four years the president has missed his statutory requirement to present a budget on time, while trillion-dollar budget deficits continue to mount,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Ryan added: “As the President announces another missed deadline, tomorrow marks the 1,000th day Senate Democrats have gone without any budget at all.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, called it “an inauspicious way to launch his State of the Union address.”
“In this, the final year of his term, one would think he would be ready and eager to lay out his detailed plan for our nation’s financial future,” Sessions said. “He speaks of the American people’s economic suffering, yet he would, at such a time, delay fulfilling this fundamental duty on their behalf.”
And Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a former White House budget director in the Bush administration, suggested Obama get off the campaign trail.
“I’m incredibly concerned that, with a record national debt now equal to 100% of our GDP, the president is unable to put forward a plan to address Washington’s out of control debt and deficits,” Portman said. “If I were advising President Obama, I’d recommend less time campaigning and more time spent addressing the impending fiscal crisis. We need a budget with a responsible spending restraint and pro-growth reforms, and WE NEED IT NOW!