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Obama's budget starts spending battle

Obama's budget starts spending battle
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President Barack Obama is proposing a budget that would cut the deficit from 10.9 percent of the US economy this year to 3.2 percent by 2015.

The deficit would rise in fiscal 2011, then fall sharply in 2012 through spending cuts and increased tax revenue.

There will now be bitter argument with the Republican opposition in Congress. The Republicans want even tougher spending cuts.

Failure by lawmakers to agree on funding government operations after a March 4 deadline expires could result in the government shutting down.

“We’re just at the beginning of a long process,” White House budget director Jack Lew told ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’. “We look forward to engaging with the Congress and working in a bipartisan way to actually solve the problem.”

The White House sees a December tax pact forged between Obama and Republicans as evidence they can work together, but it did not sound like it from comments by US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

“The president talks like someone who recognises that spending is out of control, but so far it hasn’t been matched with action,” McConnell said in a statement.

“Americans don’t want a spending freeze at unsustainable levels. They want cuts, dramatic cuts. And I hope the president will work with us on achieving them soon,” he added.

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