In President's Budget Plan, Broad Agenda and a Few Gaps
Budget Projects $1.75T Deficit This Year
President Obama will release a proposed budget today that sets aside up to $250 billion dollars to add to the existing bank bailout, which would bring the 2009 budget deficit to $1.75 trillion dollars, White House officials said. Overall, the massive spending plan is built on the assumption that lawmakers can resolve some hugely contentious issues -- and it relies on a few well-worn budget tricks.
The request Obama will deliver to Congress today proposes to provide what administration officials are calling a "down payment" on a major expansion of health care coverage for the uninsured. It identifies $634 billion in tax increases and spending cuts to cover the cost of part of the program, but does not say how the administration hopes to raise the rest of the money -- hundreds of billions of dollars more. "TBD" has been penciled into categories for cost savings and benefit reductions.
Obama's budget also would make permanent a tax cut for the middle class enacted in the recent stimulus package. But to pay for it, the president counts on a big infusion of cash from a politically controversial cap-and-trade system, which would force companies to buy allowances to exceed pollution limits. Even if that plan is approved, some lawmakers have other ideas about how to spend the money....MORE
...Here are some winners and losers in the draft submitted to Congress on Thursday, according to senior administration officials:
* THE BANKING INDUSTRY. The budget sets aside $250 billion as a "placeholder" if Obama decides to ask Congress for more money to help the troubled U.S. financial system. Officials said such a decision has yet to be made.
* CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY. The budget includes billions of dollars in revenues, starting in 2012 and lasting many years, from a greenhouse gas emissions trading system, one of Obama's key proposals to fight global warming.
* HEALTHCARE OVERHAUL. The budget includes a 10-year, $634-billion reserve fund to help pay for the president's proposed healthcare reforms.
* PUBLIC WORKS. Officials are trying to jolt the faltering economy in the face of 14 months of recession with public-works spending.
* MIDDLE CLASS. Tax cuts would benefit the U.S. middle class. Continued...