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Obama Plans Five-Year Domestic Spending Freeze

  • Kent Klein

US President Barack Obama delivers his weekly address, Feb. 12, 2011

US President Barack Obama delivers his weekly address, Feb. 12, 2011

When President Barack Obama unveils his government budget plan on Monday, it will include a five-year freeze on domestic spending. Opposition Republicans say that is not enough.

President Obama’s budget proposal will increase spending on education, technology and infrastructure, but he says he is making difficult spending cuts elsewhere.

“My budget freezes annual domestic spending for the next five years, even on programs I care deeply about, which will reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade," said President Obama.

The federal deficit is projected at $1.5 trillion this year.

Among the president’s proposed cuts are a $78 billion budget reduction at the Pentagon, a two-year freeze on wages for civilian government workers, and the sale of unused federal buildings.

In his weekly address Saturday, Mr. Obama said the government must budget its money the way families do.

“So after a decade of rising deficits, this budget asks Washington to live within its means, while at the same time investing in our future," said Obama. "It cuts what we cannot afford, to pay for what we cannot do without. That is what families do in hard times. And that is what our country has to do as well.”

In the weekly Republican message, Senator Orrin Hatch, from the Western state of Utah, said the president’s cuts do not go far enough.

“The president’s proposal for a freeze in government spending might give the White House a nice talking point, but it is a totally inadequate solution to our nation’s spending problems," said Orrin Hatch.

Senator Hatch called for an overhaul of the U.S. tax code, big changes in federal social programs for older people, and new trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.

President Obama will announce his budget plans on Monday, at a school in the state of Maryland.