clear
Tuesday September 1st, 2015 6:20PM

Obama reportedly drops budget cost-of-living trims

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says President Barack Obama's upcoming budget proposal will not include his past offer to accept lowered cost-of-living increases in Social Security and other benefit programs. Those had been a central component of his long-term debt-reduction strategy.

Officials said Thursday that those potential reductions in spending, included in last year's Obama budget, had been designed to initiate negotiations with Republicans over how to reduce future deficits and the nation's debt. But Republicans never accepted Obama's calls for higher tax revenue to go along with the cuts.

One official said the offer would remain on the table in the event of new budget talks but that it would not be part of the president's formal spending blueprint for fiscal 2015.

The official was not authorized to comment by name on the budget plan before its March 4 release and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

The decision to drop the cost-of-living proposal was essentially an acknowledgement that Obama has been unable to conclude a "grand budget bargain" with Republican leaders, even by including in his previous budget plan a benefit reduction opposed by many Democrats.

While Democrats will cheer the new decision, Republicans are sure to portray the White House move as abandoning any commitment to fiscal discipline.

The new Obama proposal would eliminate congressionally mandated automatic spending cuts that are scheduled to continue kicking in through 2015 by adding $56 billion to the budget, evenly divided between military and domestic spending. That increase would include money for what the White House calls an "Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative."

That additional spending would be paid for with a mix of other spending cuts and the closing of some tax loopholes, officials said. They did not describe the specific cuts or tax changes.

The officials said the White House will retain other spending reductions in benefit programs that it has proposed in the past, including a requirement that wealthier Medicare recipients pay more.

The Obama budget would build on the recently passed bipartisan congressional agreement that signaled an end to the brinkmanship that defined recent fiscal confrontations.

The proposed cost-of-living trims, now put aside by Obama, had faced significant opposition from Democrats. Just last Friday, 16 Senate liberals called for Obama not to include in his budget any provision that would reduce increases in Social Security benefits to future retirees.

That proposal, supported by many Republicans, would use a different inflation index to adjust annual benefit payments. Many economists believe the revised formula, called a "chained consumer price index," better reflects consumer spending behavior.

Even though the Obama proposal does not include that significant debt-reduction idea, the White House says that passage of a separate overhaul of immigration law, combined with more slowly growing health care costs, would eventually result in a national debt that is lower as a share of the total economy than projected in past administration budgets. It says deficits as a share of the economy will be below 2 percent after 2025.

The administration's budget is expected to be more bullish about the fiscal picture than a recent forecast by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Economists at CBO projected earlier this month that deficits would fall to 2.6 percent of the economy in 2015 and then rise to about 4 percent between 2022 and 2024.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 8 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 8 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 8 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 8 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 8 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 8 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 8 months ago )
Local/State News
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 8 months ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 8 months ago )
More Georgians signing up for health insurance
A federal report says more Georgians have selected health insurance plans through a federally facilitated marketplace.
4:16PM ( 8 months ago )
Politics
In Alaska wilderness, Obama stares down melting glacier to sound alarm on climate change
SEWARD, Alaska (AP) — President Barack Obama stared down a melting glacier in Alaska on Tuesday in a dramatic use of his presidential pulpit to sound the alarm on climate change.From a distance, Exit...
5:21PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Tens of thousands without power after monsoon storm hits Phoenix area, damages buildings, cars
PHOENIX (AP) — Tens of thousands of Phoenix-area residents and businesses, including a food bank, remained without power a day after a monsoon storm knocked down trees, damaged buildings and toppled a...
5:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
US, global stocks fall sharply; Dow down 469 at close
NEW YORK (AP) — Markets are turning turbulent again after investors were unnerved by more signs of weakness in China, the world's second-largest economy.U.S. stocks sank 3 percent Tuesday, their third...
4:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
Clinton, aides stressed need to protect sensitive State Department information in email
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton and her aides at the State Department were acutely aware of — and occasionally frustrated by — the need to protect sensitive information when discussing intern...
2:56PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Kentucky clerk has until Wednesday to respond to latest in marriage-license case
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — The latest on a Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against her (all times local):2:15 p.m.A federal judge says a...
2:31PM ( 3 hours ago )