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Obama Unveils Budget, but It's Not Expected to Go Far

Feb 09, 2012

This is an excerpt from Executive Insight Briefing, produced every Thursday by the National Journal’s Daily Briefings Team.


In the most cooperative political climate, a president’s budget filing is greeted as suitable fodder for Capitol Hill fireplaces. The document President Obama files next Monday, working off a $3 trillion-plus deficit-reduction blueprint released last year, may not meet even that standard.

Obama will likely press ahead on his election-year themes: clean-energy spending, reinforcement of his crackdown on Wall Street, and higher taxes on the wealthy as part of his economic-fairness argument. The document is expected to call for $487 billion in defense spending cuts and $580 billion from domestic spending over the next 10 years, including a $248 billion Medicare reduction.

The plan will probably contain the so-called Buffett Rule, a 30 percent income tax on people earning more than $1 million, and corporate tax-reform proposals. There likely will be tax cuts for firms to shift manufacturing jobs back stateside, and elevated tax incentives for advanced manufacturers already operating domestically.

The president also wants to divert half the anticipated $550 billion in 10-year savings from wound-down wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to infrastructure spending.

But don’t get too caught up in the numbers. The spending blueprint isn’t going far. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has already cashiered the necessity for the Senate to vote on a budget resolution this year, citing last summer’s debt-ceiling deal, which has set spending caps for fiscal 2013.

“We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year — it’s done, we don’t need to do it,” Reid told reporters last Friday.

 
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