Obama speech this week promises bigger fights ahead on debt and spending
Congress and the White House may have resolved one budget crisis. But comments on the Sunday talk shows indicate bigger fights ahead over federal debt and government spending.
There may have been a few hours of respite and bipartisan bonhomie following Friday’s late-night temporary resolution to the FY 2011 budget crisis. But by Sunday morning, the principals were back at it – staking out partisan positions in a way that promises even bigger fights over federal debt and government spending.Skip to next paragraph
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Making the rounds of TV news shows, White House senior adviser David Plouffe said President Obama will detail his position on deficit reduction in a speech Wednesday. Plouffe was a key figure in Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and he took up his White House post in January.
“The president clearly believes that we can still grow economically with smart deficit reduction,” Plouffe said on CNN’s State of the Union. “But it’s got to be smart. If we’re just going to cut student loans, cut Head Start, cut medical research, we’re not going to be the country in terms of the economy that we need to be.”
For Obama, cutting the deficit means still pushing for an end to the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans – a fight Obama has yet to win. “People like him, as he’ll say, who’ve been very fortunate in life, have the ability to pay a little bit more,” Plouffe said on NBC’s Meet the Press, emphasizing that this does not mean the middle class.
The bipartisan agreement reached Friday just before the midnight deadline for a government shutdown knocked $78.5 billion off President Obama’s FY 2011 budget request and cut spending levels for the rest of the fiscal year (through September) by $37.7 billion. That’s scheduled to become law this week.
The GOP position all along has been that “we’ve had to bring this president kicking and screaming to the table to cut spending,” as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, (R) of Virginia, said on Fox News Sunday. “It’s really hard to believe what this White House and what this president is saying.”