WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama unveiled a 10-year budget blueprint on Wednesday that would raise taxes on smokers, energy companies and most people who pay income taxes, while making major cuts in government aid to farmers and reducing the annual increases in Social Security checks.
The budget would cut annual deficits well below the $1 trillion level that has become the norm and make investments in presidential priorities such as early childhood education, clean energy and public works.
And it would replace the $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts that took effect in March with more targeted reductions.
The Defense Department would face $150 billion in cuts over 10 years, rather than $500 billion as the sequestration cuts mandate.
The president's budget for the fiscal year beginning in October would spend about $3.8 trillion. The projected spending for 2023 would be $5.7 trillion.
Obama's blueprint was submitted two months late and comes after the House and Senate have approved their own budget outlines. However, the president's budget is also a negotiating position for the next showdown this summer over raising the nation's borrowing limit.
“When it comes to deficit reduction, I've already met Republicans more than halfway,” Obama said at the White House on Wednesday.
“So in the coming days and weeks, I hope that Republicans will come forward and demonstrate that they're really as serious about the deficits and debt as they claim to be.”
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, a member of the House budget committee, criticized the president for not submitting a budget that balances in 10 years, as the House did. However, he said he was encouraged that Obama proposed changes to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
“We have a significant distance to bridge between the Republican budget that balances in 10 years and the Democratic plan that never balances,” Cole said. “Now that all plans are on the table — including the Democratic Senate's first budget in four years — I am hopeful that we can achieve significant progress in the coming months.”
Among the key changes in the president's budget is the way inflation is figured. Obama proposes that the government use a calculation called chained Consumer Price Index, which takes into account consumer reaction to price inflation.