The battle over next year's U.S. federal budget begins in earnest Monday, as President George W. Bush formally submits his proposed spending plan to Congress.

This is the budget for the fiscal year that begins in October. Between now and then, there will be months of debate, arguments, stalemates and compromise.

The president's proposal totals just over $2 trillion. It does not include the cost of a possible war with Iraq, though it does pour money into projects to defend the nation, both at home and abroad.

Administration officials acknowledge this budget blueprint will result in big deficits. For that, the White House blames the lingering effects of the economic recession, and expenses related to the war on terrorism.

But opposition Democrats in Congress are likely to blame the deficits on the president's fiscal policies. And they are expected to argue that the deficit projections show the president's proposals for a series of big tax cuts will do far more harm than good.