WASHINGTON -- In the middle of a slow economic recovery, Americans families have learned to cut back spending.
Now President Barack Obama wants the government to follow suit, proposing a three-year freeze on parts of the federal budget.
The proposal is aimed at addressing public concern about government spending in the middle of a struggling economy and double-digit unemployment.
"So I understand why the American people, their attitude is not 'It could have been worse.' Their attitude is 'How do we keep making sure we keep getting it better?'" the president told ABC News' Diane Sawyer in an interview Monday.
The spending freeze would apply to domestic agencies and programs including air traffic control, farm subsidies, education and national parks.
It would not affect the budgets of the Pentagon, Veterans Affairs or Homeland Security. Nor would it apply to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security - the fastest growing segments of the federal budget.
In total, the savings would amount to $250 billion over the next 10 years. It's a drop in the bucket compared to the trillion dollar deficit and a national debt of $12 trillion and counting.
The president certainly has his critics when it comes handling the economy and spending.
"if you sum up the first year, what this administration has done best is rattle the markets, advocate tax increases and run up deficits," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told NBC's Meet the Press.
Still, the spending reductions aren't a sure thing. They still need congressional approval and it's unclear how much support the president will get.
While the budget proposal may win over some fiscal moderates, others fear it could cut valuable programs. However, it will allow the White House to at least say it has made an effort to control spending.