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Bush Sends $2.4 Trillion Budget Proposal to Congress - 2004-02-02

President Bush has sent his election year budget proposal to Capitol Hill. He is asking Congress to approve $2.4 trillion in government spending for the 2005 fiscal year which begins October 1.

This budget proposal reflects the themes of the president's re-election campaign. "This administration is putting together a budget and submitting it to Congress that sets clear priorities: winning the war on terrorism, protecting our homeland, making sure our children get educated," said Mr. Bush.

His budget blueprint calls for continued increases in spending for defense and homeland security and cuts in many domestic programs, with the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Protection Agency facing the biggest reductions.

Mr. Bush defends the cuts, saying Congress must show fiscal restraint. He cautions the legislature to "be wise with the taxpayer's money."

"We look forward to working with them to bring fiscal discipline to the appropriations process so can cut the deficit in half over a five year period of time," he said.

The deficit is expected to be $521 billion for the current fiscal year. In a statement accompanying the budget documents to Capitol Hill, the president speaks of cutting the deficit to $364 billion in 2005.

Democrats in Congress say even that reduced level is far too much. They say the administration is cutting the wrong programs, and the president's demand for permanent tax cuts could throw the budget even further out of balance.