Entries in Deficit Reduction Plan (4)


White House Issues Veto Threat Against Boehner Bill

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- The White House Tuesday issued a veto threat against the deficit reduction bill being offered by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, saying that were it to be “presented to the President, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.”

And in that space, House Republicans see wiggle room for the president to sign the Boehner legislation, though no one is sure it will even pass the House, much less the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., declared it dead on arrival.

The White House insists Republicans are wrong about the wiggle room, but officials have been careful to avoid definitive language.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Outlines Broad Plans to Reduce Deficit

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Wednesday outlined his own proposal for reducing the nation's deficit by $4 trillion in the next 12 years, calling it a "more balanced approach" than the one championed by congressional Republicans, and emphasized that everything in the budget must be up for discussion.

In a 44-minute speech at George Washington University that included few specific targeted cuts but many broad objectives, Obama said that in order to reach his deficit reduction goals, he would focus on four key areas: keeping domestic spending low; cuts to the Pentagon budget; health care savings in Medicare and Medicaid; and taxes.

The president said these ideas come from the recommendations of the bipartisan fiscal commission and builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction that he already proposed in his 2012 budget.

"We have to live within our means, reduce our deficit, and get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt," he said. "And we have to do it in a way that protects the recovery, and protects the investments we need to grow, create jobs, and win the future."

With the 2012 presidential campaign looming, Obama tried Wednesday to draw a clear contrast between his plan and that which congressional Republicans have put forward, which has drawn support from several Republican presidential contenders.

The president said that while both sides want to make dramatic spending cuts, their approach goes after the wrong targets and is less about deficit reduction than it is about "changing the basic social compact in America."

Specifically, Obama said that the changes he has proposed for Medicare and Medicaid will keep the commitments to the nation's seniors while still saving $500 billion during the next 12 years and an additional $1 trillion by 2033.

The president also pledged to increase the tax rates on upper-income Americans -- individuals who make more than $200,000 a year or families that make more than $250,000 -- because they can afford to pay a little more. In December, the president agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts for all Americans in order to keep his campaign pledge to prevent a tax increase for the middle class. That won't happen again, he said Wednesday.

Yet even before Obama delivered his remarks, Republicans were already lining up to reject his proposals.

Back from a meeting at the White House earlier Wednesday, Republican leaders in Congress warned Obama that they will not agree to raise taxes in an effort to rein in the country's rising deficits, calling them a "non-starter."

Boehner described the White House meeting as "a very frank and serious discussion" about the debt crisis, but suggested he has tough standards for the administration to meet in order to sway his support from chairman Ryan's budget plan to address the deficit.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia echoed Boehner and said that raising taxes is not the answer.

"And without even looking at a poll, my finely honed political skills tell me that almost no one believes they should be paying higher taxes," he said to polite laughter.

Obama said that the continuing budget and spending debate in Washington is more than just "numbers on a page, more than just cutting and spending," perhaps giving a preview of his 2012 reelection theme.

"It's about the kind of future we want," he said. "It's about the kind of country we believe in."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Public Financing for Presidential Campaigns on the Chopping Block

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A year after the Supreme Court overturned the federal government's decades-old restriction on corporate spending in political campaigns, Republicans are attempting to end the Presidential Election Fund, a move that Democrats charge will only boost the presence of special interest groups.

House Republicans on Wednesday passed a bill to eliminate public financing for presidential campaigns, a program that has been in place for 35 years.

The bill would terminate all taxpayer funding of presidential election campaigns and party conventions "to reduce federal spending and the deficit." The funds that remain would go into the Treasury Department's general fund and would only be used for deficit-reduction purposes.

Under current law, Americans can designate $3 on their income tax filings toward the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. The fund currently collects about $42 million annually, and its balance was $195 million at the end of 2010, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

To qualify for the public funds, presidential candidates and party convention committees have to limit their campaign spending.

The nonpartisan CBO estimated that eliminating the public financing system would reduce direct spending by $617 million in the 2011-2021 period.

The bill faces a bleak future in the Senate. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced the bill Wednesday in the Senate, calling the fund "an outdated, wasteful Washington program" and a "welfare for politicians."

But Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., thus far has no plans to bring the measure to a vote on the floor, setting the stage for more partisan wrangling.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Deficit Commission Postpones Vote to Friday

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s deficit commission will present its final deficit reduction plan Wednesday morning, but the vote, which was initially slated for Dec. 1, is now pushed to Friday.

“We just finished the plan.  We’re putting the final touches on it now, and we’ll get it out later today or early tonight,” co-chair Erskine Bowles said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.  “I don’t think it’s fair, nor does Al, to not give people a chance to review it before they’re asked to vote.”

It is not expected that this will be addressed legislatively before the end of the lame-duck session of Congress.

Co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson did not offer specific details regarding the changes to the plan but insisted the plan is “stronger” and “better” than the chairmen’s proposal presented earlier this month.

“The plan we submit tomorrow,” Bowles said, “It’s not going to be some watered down version of the chairman’s mark.  That I can guarantee you.  We have met with and listened to every single member of this commission, and we think they have made this plan stronger.”

Regarding one of the contentious issues in the plan -- Social Security -- the chairmen maintained they “are not balancing the books of America on the backs of poor social security recipients” and have developed a plan to protect the lower income bracket.

But heading into Wednesday’s meeting, the chairmen expect sharp criticism from both sides of the aisle regarding the plan.

“They’re going to rip this thing to shreds and do it with zeal,” Simpson said.  “There are plenty of zealots out here.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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