News / USA

President Obama Unveils Budget Proposal

The newly published 2012 budget documents on display at the U.S. Government Printing Office in Washington, February 10, 2011
The newly published 2012 budget documents on display at the U.S. Government Printing Office in Washington, February 10, 2011

Multimedia

Michael Bowman

U.S. President Barack Obama has unveiled a $3.7 trillion federal budget for next year that seeks to cut America’s mammoth deficit while retaining certain spending priorities to spur future economic expansion.

Republicans, who control one house of Congress, are dismissing the president’s proposed budget as a costly burden to the economy that fails to address a fiscal crisis. The positions staked out constitute opening bids in what is expected to be a protracted battle over the government’s finances.

President Obama says painful choices must be made to put America’s fiscal house in order. "I’ve called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years.  This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending - domestic discretionary spending - to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president [in the 1950s]," he said.

The president’s budget mandates cuts in defense spending, environmental protection and many other government endeavors. It assumes robust economic growth in coming years, and limits tax deductions for the wealthy as well as corporate tax breaks. Overall projected deficit reduction totals more than $1 trillion over 10 years.

At the same time, the proposed budget expands funding for infrastructure projects, clean energy initiatives and educational priorities. Speaking at a primary school in Baltimore, Maryland, Mr. Obama said America must continue to invest with an eye to the future. "I’m convinced that if we out-build and out-innovate and out-educate, as well as out-hustle the rest of the world, the jobs and industries of our time will take root here in the United States.  Our people will prosper and our country will succeed," he said.

Republicans promptly blasted the president’s budget blueprint, saying it would add more than $7 trillion to the national debt and push America to financial ruin. Republican Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is chairman of the House Budget Committee. "It is not too late to right our ship, get our economy growing, get our debt headed in the right direction, and get America’s fiscal problems solved. But if we keep postponing this, if we keep punting [refusing to tackle the problem] like this budget does, then there will come a moment when it is too late," he said.

The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was even more blunt. "We’re broke [out of money]. We’re broke. We don’t have the money," he said.

Republican legislators have yet to craft an alternative 2012 budget of their own, but are intent on slashing current federal spending, and promise to keep cutting until fiscal woes are solved.

Congressman Ryamn said, "The debt crisis is caused by spending, not taxes. And so, let’s go where the problem is, and that is spending."

President Obama maintains that deep spending cuts favored by Republicans would harm America’s future economic prospects, and unfairly force the poor and vulnerable to bear the cost of years of fiscal excess. Republicans counter that a bloated federal government and ever-expanding national debt will destroy the country, harming everyone - rich and poor alike.

Budget analyst Bill Frenzel of the Brookings Institution says compromise is possible, if Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats are willing to consider deeper spending cuts, and Republicans agree to some form of increased taxation. "As long as Republicans like to cut expenses and Democrats are not as anxious to do so and would rather have a tax component, I think everyone will get less than they want from this budget," he said.

Economists say neither side in the budget debate has yet to embrace badly-needed reforms to programs that provide income and health care assistance to retirees, the costs of which are expected to sky-rocket in coming years. They argue, until those costs are contained, America’s fiscal and economic health will continue to suffer.

The first congressional budget votes could come as early as next week, but a final deal - if one can be struck - is likely months away.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More