Obama, GOP Square Off over Deficit Plan

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WASHINGTON -- In his first major speech since announcing he'll seek a second term, President Obama talked money. The president unveiled his plan Wednesday night to reduce deficit spending by $4 trillion.

If Washington doesn't steer off its current course, by the end of this decade just the interest owed on America’s debt alone will reach nearly $1 trillion.

“Any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table,” Obama said. 

Items the president proposed putting on the table include:

  • Raise taxes by about $1 trillion.
  • Trimming $400 billion in defense spending.
  • Trim Medicare and Medicaid by reducing the cost of health care.
  • Cutting $770 billion out of domestic spending.

And if the president gets his way, upper-income Americans can say goodbye to Bush-era tax cuts and some tax deductions.

Click here to watch an updated budget report with CBN News Capitol Hill Correspondent John Jessup.

Allison Fraser, a top budget analyst with the Heritage Foundation, talked about the president's deficit proposal on "The 700 Club," April 14. Click play for her comments following Jennifer Wishon's report. 

Tom McCluskey of the Family Research Council also shared his insights on the president's address. Click on the player below for that interview.

The Republicans, he said, have concluded that "even though we can't afford to care for seniors and poor children, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy."

“I say that at a time when the tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level in half a century, the most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more,” he added. “I think most wealthy Americans would agree with me.

It’s the one thing the president said Republicans are latching on to, and it's the issue that will define the sharpest differences between Democrats and Republicans in the coming weeks.

“Raising taxes is not what we need right now, two days before tax day -- especially as we're trying to get job creators back into the game here,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said.
GOP lawmakers say the president’s plan was too short on the specifics.
“This was not a speech designed for America to win the future, this was a speech designed for the president to attempt to win re-election,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said.
It’s become evident the nation’s deficit and debt will be major issues in the 2012 presidential race.
Conservatives point out that, for all of Obama’s talk about cutting spending, the deficit has exploded under his watch.    
And the president dedicated a significant chunk of his speech to tearing down the Republican plan House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., released last week.   

“Rather than building bridges, he's poisoning wells,” Ryan charged.

Meanwhile, Obama has appointed Vice President Joe Biden to serve as “negotiator in chief.” Biden will start meeting with members of Congress next month how to get the nation’s fiscal house in order.
The White House hopes to have a deal on reducing deficit spending by the end of June.

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.