President Obama's budget plan for fiscal year 2014 is en route to Congress. Seeking to slash the deficit, it contains a mix of tax hikes on the wealthy and cuts to government programs—including entitlements—that is upsetting both sides of the aisle, the AP reports. "I have already met Republicans more than halfway," Obama said in Rose Garden remarks today, "so in the coming days and weeks I hope that Republicans will come forward and demonstrate that they're really as serious about the deficit and debt as they claim to be." An overview of what's in the "grand bargain" attempt:
- Deficit reduction of $4.3 trillion, by the White House's count, though that includes $1.8 trillion saved over the next decade. The deficit for the 2014 fiscal year beginning in October would drop to $744 billion, the smallest since 2008, according to administration projections. Still, that's bigger than the CBO-projected $616 billion, the Washington Post notes.
- Some $50 billion in infrastructure spending. The $40 billion "Fix It First" project would go toward improving roads and bridges, as well as public transit and airports. The budget also sets aside some $1 billion for institutes to push manufacturing innovation.
- A call for preschool for all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families, paid for by a tobacco tax hike.
- Deduction limits for the wealthiest 2% of families, bringing in $580 billion, plus the "Buffett Rule": Families making more than $1 million would have to pay at least 30% of their incomes in tax.
- Defense spending cuts of $100 billion, $400 billion in cuts to Medicare over a decade, and reduction of farm subsidies and retiree programs, resulting in $200 billion saved.
- The combination of new revenue and steep cuts to social programs have both Republicans and Democrats equally angry, notes Fox. But the White House is digging in: “If they refuse to include revenues in any deal, then there will be no deal. It’s that simple,” a senior administration official said yesterday of Republicans.
Politico has a copy of the budget