WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is pressing for investments in infrastructure while relying on familiar tax increases on the wealthy and corporations to claim progress on the federal deficit in his upcoming budget.
Obama's 2013 budget, to be released Monday, is the official start to an election-year budget battle over taxes and spending as the nation's debt tops $15 trillion. Obama's budget predicts a $1.3 trillion deficit in the ongoing budget year and a $901 billion deficit in 2013.
The president's plan is laden with stimulus-style initiatives, like sharp increases for highway construction, school modernization, and a new tax credit for businesses that add jobs. But it avoids sacrifice, with only minimal curbs on the unsustainable growth of Medicare even as it slaps a 10-year, $61 billion "financial crisis responsibility fee" on big banks to recoup the 2008 Wall Street bailout.
The budget, administration officials say, borrows heavily from Obama's September submission to a congressional deficit "supercommittee" assigned to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings as part of last summer's budget-and-debt pact that avoided a first-ever U.S. default on its obligations. The panel deadlocked and left Washington to grapple with bruising across-the-board spending cuts that kick in next January.
Obama's plan predicts deficit savings of more than $4 trillion over a decade, mixing $1 trillion already banked through last summer's clampdown on agency operating budgets with $1.5 trillion in higher tax revenues reaped from an overhaul of the tax code. It also claims savings from reduced war costs and takes just a nip at federal health care programs even as it promises $476 billion for road and other surface transportation programs over six years, a significant increase.
It's already received a chilly reception from Republicans who say Obama isn't doing enough to tame the deficit or curb the rapid growth of benefit programs like Medicare.
The budget will also call for a "Buffett Rule" named after billionaire Warren Buffett that would guarantee that households making more than $1 million a year pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.