By David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama is proposing to reduce federal budget deficits by $4
trillion over 12 years, to be enforced by automatic spending cuts if the
government fails to keep pace with debt reduction targets, said a White
House preview of an afternoon speech.
Obama will cite those goals today as
part of a debt reduction plan built around four elements: Lower
domestic spending, less defense spending, excess spending in Medicare
and Medicaid, and elimination of tax breaks that favor the wealthy,
according to a White House statement.
The highly anticipated debt reduction speech is at 1:35 p.m.
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
Congressional Republicans, briefed on the speech by
Obama earlier today at the White House, objected to a proposal to end
the George W. Bush-era tax breaks for wealthy taxpayers.
can't tax the very people we expect to re-invest in our economy and
create jobs," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "Washington has a
spending problem, not a revenue problem."
Boehner 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.
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
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., criticized Republicans for their early critique of Obama's debt plan.
do you do when you're scared that the centerpiece of your entire agenda
is about to be exposed as a Trojan horse for your real goal of ending
Medicare and Social Security to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and
billionaires?," Reid said in a statement. "You kick and scream and
create a diversion, just like Republicans are doing now by criticizing a
plan they haven't even seen yet."
The White House statement previewing the Obama speech:
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.
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.