Washington President Barack Obama is promoting his new deficit-reduction plan by drawing sharp contrasts with a House Republican budget that he says offers a vision that “is wrong for America.”
In his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, Obama contended that Republicans want to dismantle venerable safety net programs and cut taxes for the wealthy at the expense of students paying for college and older adults relying on Medicare.
“To restore fiscal responsibility, we all need to share in the sacrifice — but we don’t have to sacrifice the America we believe in,” Obama said.
The criticism echoed his speech Wednesday in which he outlined a $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan over 12 years. It’s a goal, he said, that he can achieve through spending cuts, changes in government health care programs and tax increases.
Obama’s message represents his clearest attempt to place ideological distance with Republicans after months spent negotiating a compromise six-month spending bill that trimmed more than $38 billion from the government.
Obama plans to continue his plan’s pitch throughout the upcoming week, holding town halls in Northern Virginia Tuesday and in Palo Alto, Calif., and Reno, Nev., later in the week.
While Obama tries to cast the debate in his own terms, his attention to fiscal discipline signals a watershed in national politics. After two years devoted to priming an anemic economy with new spending and passing an overhaul of health care, Congress and the White House are beginning a debate about how to tame long-term deficits and a crushing debt of more than $14 trillion.