This post was researched and written by our news blog writer and pro bono attorney, James Ryan McNelis, J.D., M.P.A.
On February 14th, President Obama unveiled his proposed budget for 2012. The $3.7 trillion budget focuses on investments in education, energy, and research; but also makes more than $1.1 trillion in deficit spending cuts over the next 10 years. Among these cuts were reductions in Federal funding for low-income energy assistance, Pell grants, airport grants, clean water initiatives, and a reduction in military spending programs. The bulk of Mr. Obama’s budget savings comes, however, from a 5 year freeze on discretionary spending, and his budget also provides for the elimination of the “Bush tax cuts” to the wealthiest of Americans.
Congressional Republican leaders responded unenthusiastically, calling the budget a job killing bill. The Congressional GOP has sought to cut Federal spending by $100 billion in 2011 alone, but has been unable to find any consensus, even within their own party, on how to do so. The GOP does, however, stand united in opposing any elimination of the tax cuts, and generally opposes any reductions in military spending.
The current fiscal budget year has been operating without an agreed upon budget since last October, and this budget plan would likely not be passed as law until this September. However, with record federal deficits, and a weakened economy, the battle over the budget, and which cuts and tax policies are to be pursued, is just heating up in time for the coming summer.
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