WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama is sending Congress a $3.8 trillion spending blueprint that seeks to achieve an elusive “grand bargain” to tame runaway deficits by raising taxes further on the wealthy and trimming popular benefit programs such as Social Security.
The president’s proposal, unveiled yesterday, includes an additional $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, bringing total deficit savings to $4.3 trillion, based on the administration’s calculations.
It projects that the deficit for the 2014 budget year would fall to $744 billion. That would be the lowest gap between spending and revenue since 2008.
But instead of moving Congress nearer a grand bargain, Obama’s proposals so far have managed to anger both Republicans, who are upset by higher taxes, and Democrats upset with cuts to Social Security benefits.
House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan, rejected the argument that the refusal of Republicans to consider further tax increases represented inflexibility.
“We really believe if we set the stage right, we can get fundamental tax reform,” Ryan said.
Obama’s spending and tax plan is two months late. The administration blames the delay on the lengthy ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations at the end of December.