Bush Sends Congress $2.90T Spending Plan
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
(AP) - President Bush sent a $2.90 trillion spending plan to a
on Monday, proposing a big increase in military spending, including
billions more to fight the war in Iraq, while squeezing the rest of
government to meet his goal of eliminating the deficit in five
Bush's spending plan would make his first-term tax cuts
permanent, at a cost of $1.6 trillion over 10 years.
He is seeking $78 billion in savings in the government's big health
care programs - Medicare and Medicaid
- over the next five years.
Release of the budget in four massive volumes kicks off months
of debate in which Democrats, now in control of both the House and
Senate for the first time in Bush's presidency, made clear that
they have significantly different views on spending and taxes.
"The president's budget is filled with debt and deception,
disconnected from reality and continues to move America in the
wrong direction," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent
The president insisted that he had made the right choices to
keep the nation secure from terrorist threats and the economy
"My formula for a balanced budget reflects the priorities of our
country at this moment in its history: protecting the homeland and
fighting terrorism, keeping the economy strong with low taxes and
keeping spending under control while making federal programs more
effective," Bush said.
Just as Iraq has come to dominate Bush's presidency, military
spending was a major element in the president's new spending
request. Bush was seeking a Pentagon budget of $624.6 billion for
2008, more than one-fifth of the total budget, up from $600.3
billion in 2007. For the first time, the Pentagon figures include
what Bush wants to spend to fight the Iraq war, money that in past
years was put in supplemental appropriations rather than the
Bush projected a deficit in the current year of $244 billion,
just slightly lower than last year's $248 billion imbalance. For
2008, the budget year that begins next Oct. 1, Bush sees another
slight decline in the deficit to $239 billion with further steady
improvement over the next three years until the budget records a
surplus of $61 billion in 2012, three years after Bush has left
Democrats, however, challenged those projections, contending
that Bush only achieves a surplus by leaving out the billions of
dollars Congress is expected to spend to keep the alternative
minimum tax from ensnaring millions of middle-class taxpayers. His
budget includes an AMT fix only for 2008.
Bush projects government spending in 2008 of $2.90 trillion, a
4.9 percent increase from the $2.78 trillion in outlays the
administration is projecting for this year. However, the
administration notes that the 2007 total is only an estimate, given
that Congress is still working to complete a massive omnibus
spending bill to cover most agencies for the rest of this fiscal
To help achieve what would be the government's first surplus
since 2001, Bush is proposing $95.9 billion in savings in mandatory
spending, the part of the budget that includes the big benefit
programs of Social Security and health care.
Medicare, which provides health insurance for 43 million older
and disabled Americans, would see the bulk of those savings -
reductions of $66 billion over five years. That would come about
primarily by slowing the growth of payments to health care
Additional savings would be achieved by charging higher income
Medicare beneficiaries bigger monthly premiums.
While Bush said something had to be done to get control of
spiraling health care costs, Congress refused to go along last year
with Bush's effort for smaller reductions in Medicare.
Bush would seek to eliminate or sharply reduce 141 government
programs for a five-year savings of $12 billion. But many of those
reductions he has proposed in past budgets - only to see them
rejected by Congress.
Bush once listed overhauling Social Security as the No. 1
domestic priority of his second term. But his effort two years ago
to accomplish this goal by diverting some Social Security taxes
into private investment accounts went nowhere in Congress. He
included the private accounts again in this year's budget. But to
minimize the impact, he only showed the program taking effect in
2012, when the private accounts would cost $29.3 billion.
The president's budget also includes an initiative to expand
health care coverage to the uninsured through a complex proposal
that would give every family a $15,000 tax deduction for purchasing
health coverage but would make current employee-supplied health
coverage taxable for certain taxpayers.
Bush is also proposing to increase the maximum Pell grant, which
goes to low-income students, from the current $4,050 to $4,600.
Democrats are pushing for even larger increases.
Bush's energy proposals would expand use of ethanol and other
renewable fuels with a goal of cutting gasoline use by 20 percent
over the next decade.
Debt. U.S. is going BROKE,
how much do you pay
just in interest?
Neocons ready for Iran War
The Blackstone Group
"George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography" Chp 19
Seeks 11% Increase in Homeland Security