Entries in Fiscal Year 2012 (6)


White House Budget Gives IRS a Big Boost

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Student loans take a hit.  So does the program that helps the poor pay for home heating oil.  But not the Internal Revenue Service.

President Obama’s budget has winners and losers, and one of the clear winners is the IRS.

Under the president’s budget plan for 2012, the IRS’s budget is getting a boost of $1.1 billion -- an increase of nearly 10 percent.

The budget summary released by the White House explains that the extra money will help the IRS “improve service to taxpayers” and “make interactions with the IRS more smooth and effective.”

A press release from the Treasury Department explains that the money will help the IRS become more responsive, in part, by improving those toll-free help lines.

“Because new tax cuts aimed at helping taxpayers and stimulating the economy over the last few years have increased the volume of calls to toll-free service lines at the IRS,” the release says, “Treasury’s Budget request includes increased funding to improve service on IRS toll-free service lines.”

The Treasury Department says the funding will also improve enforcement, helping the IRS chase down tax cheats and, in the process, end up saving taxpayers $1.3 billion by the year 2014.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Boehner 'Irritated' By President's Budget Proposal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Speaker of the House John Boehner said Tuesday he is irritated by President Obama’s new budget proposal, telling reporters the president’s plan would damage the country’s efforts to create jobs. He also criticized the president for failing to lead on a solution to the country’s entitlement predicament.

“It’s pretty clear that [the president’s budget] spends too much, borrows too much and taxes too much, but the most irritating part to me…is that this will continue to hurt job creation in America,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

Boehner said House Republicans are offering serious ideas to cut spending, beginning with H.R. 1, a spending bill coming to the House floor Tuesday that Boehner says would cut $100 billion by the end of September.

Boehner also brushed aside any concern over potential job losses resulting from the GOP’s $100 billion cuts, citing the expansion of the federal government over the past two years under Democratic rule.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called out House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for failing “to even begin to offer a coherent vision forward.”

Cantor says House Republicans will make reforms and further cuts in their FY 2012 budget, which is expected to be completed by early April.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Freshman Rep. on Government Shutdown: ‘We Wait and See...’

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) –- With the clock ticking to March 4 – the day the government is set to run out of funding with further action by Congress – “what-if” scenarios are beginning to circulate on Capitol Hill, with the possibility of a government shutdown looming over budget discussions that start in earnest this week.

Though GOP leaders say they have no interest in seeing the federal government shut down, they have not ruled out that prospect. And they’re likely to face pressure from Tea Party activists and lawmakers to take their fight over spending to that kind of extreme, if their demands for cuts aren’t met.

Freshman Rep. Paul Gosar told ABC News on Monday that he hopes Senate Democratic leaders follow the lead of House Republicans, who are insisting on $100 billion in spending cuts from this year’s budget.

Asked if he could support a government shut down if the cuts don’t materialize, Gosar, R-Ariz., said he would have to wait and see.

“We've had that adult discussion in our side -- we'll have that discussion coming about on the [House] floor. And I hope the Senate takes heed of that. And I think there's plenty of people that are listening over there with eyes wide open.”

Regarding President Obama’s budget proposal – which includes deep cuts to some domestic programs but also expansions in other areas of spending – Gosar called it a “Valentine’s heartbreak for the American people.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Speaker Boehner: President Obama's Budget 'Spending the Future'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  House Republicans are speaking out in masse against President Obama’s new 2012 budget proposal, attacking the plan for spending, taxing and borrowing too much while making it more difficult to create jobs and doing little to address the country’s deficit.

“By continuing the spending binge and imposing massive tax hikes on families and small businesses,” Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement Monday, “it will fuel more economic uncertainty and make it harder to create new jobs.”

Rep. Kristi Noem, one of two freshmen with a seat at the House Republican leadership table, says that President Obama’s budget proposal signals that he is not paying attention to the message that voters sent to Washington last November, when they swept the GOP into the House majority on a pledge to cut spending, reduce the size of the federal government and create jobs.

“Three-point-eight-trillion dollars in spending in the coming year and $8.7 trillion in new spending over the next decade shows the President hasn’t really listened to the message Americans are trying to send Washington,” Noem, R-South Dakota, said. “We have many tough decisions ahead of us and his only proposal is to spend more money we don't have. It is unacceptable and our people deserve better.”

House Democrats, however, say the president’s budget would invest to grow the economy and would spur long-term job creation.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer called on House Republicans to work with President Obama “to reduce our deficit without sacrificing America’s competitive edge.”

Boehner says that when House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., introduces the House Republican’s version of the budget in the next couple of weeks it will contrast sharply with the president’s “job-crushing FY12 budget.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Proposes Budget Plan to Reduce Deficit by $1.1 Trillion

Photo Courtesy - Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Monday proposed a 10-year budget plan that would increase the national debt by $7.2 trillion -- $1.1 trillion less than if it wasn't implemented.

The plan shows that President Obama will not take the lead on any aggressive and serious measure to reduce the annual budget deficit and eliminate the $14 trillion debt.  This sets up the Obama administration on a collision course with Republicans, who are calling for serious deficit reduction and spending cuts.  On Friday night, House Republicans unveiled a spending bill to fund the government for the next seven months that they say will reduce the president’s requested spending levels this year by at least $100 billion.

The Obama administration says two-thirds of its proposed $1.1 trillion in deficit reduction would come from spending cuts, and one third from tax increases.

The president's proposal would take in $2.627 trillion and spend $3.729 trillion. The 2012 budget deficit would be $1.101 trillion, less than this year’s projected $1.645 trillion deficit.

Among the tax increases proposed are ending subsidies for oil and gas companies, and reducing the rate at which those in the highest tax bracket and some people in the second highest bracket can itemize tax deductions in areas such as interest on home mortgages and charitable giving.

The Obama administration is also proposing letting expire after 2012 the lower Bush tax rates on income over $200,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a family, but they are not including this revenue when projecting the $1.1 trillion in deficit reduction.

Some of the spending freezes/cuts include:

-- A five-year spending freeze over non-security-related discretionary spending ($400 billion/10 years).

-- Cutting $300 million in Community Block Grants.

-- Cutting LIHEAP in half, or by $2.5 billion.

-- Cutting $125 million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

-- Cutting more than $1 billion in grants to large airports.

-- Cutting $950 million in states’ funds for water treatment plants and other infrastructure.

-- Having the Pentagon budget grow at just the rate of inflation, which would cut $78 billion.

At no point in the president’s 10-year projection would the U.S. government spend less than it's taking in.  Administration officials say that by 2017 the projected deficit -- $627 billion -- would consist entirely of the interest on the current debt.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sen. Hatch Urges Fiscal Responsibility, Spending Cuts

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, says President Obama – set to release his budget for the 2012 fiscal year on Monday – needs to “reduce the size of government and get our spiraling spending and debt under control.”

“We are spending at a level not seen since the Second World War,” Hatch said in the GOP address, broadcast Saturday. “By 2021 our public debt is expected to hit $22 trillion with the federal government paying nearly $1.6 trillion every year in interest payments alone on this debt.”

Hatch admits that making cuts to spending can be difficult, but he urges fellow lawmakers to follow the examples of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

“They have taken on big spending and they are winning,” he said.

Hatch said President Obama’s cutback proposals are too timid.

“Now it is the time for President Obama to choose,” Hatch said. “Will he listen to the people…or will he become the guardian of an unsustainable status quo?”

Hatch said the president’s freeze on federal spending is not enough to deal with the federal budget crisis.

“America cannot afford to kick this can down the road any longer. And this challenge cannot be solved with higher taxes that will only result in lower economic growth and less opportunity for our children and grandchildren.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio