Obama To Submit 'Sober' Budget To Congress President Barack Obama submits his first budget to Congress this week. The big challenge — getting control of ballooning federal budget deficits. And he's not getting much help from several Republican governors, who weighed in Sunday about Obama's economic stimulus package.
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Obama To Submit 'Sober' Budget To Congress

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Obama To Submit 'Sober' Budget To Congress

Obama To Submit 'Sober' Budget To Congress

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Layoffs, furloughs, hiring freezes, nearly 5 million people on the unemployment rolls, an all-time record.

As the job market bogs down, it's brutal for the folks who are out of work. And for those who still have jobs, well, it's no picnic.

Mr. MIKE PRECKER (Manager, The Lodge): At lunch every day, we were always talking about what's our plan B.

LYDEN: In today's show, we'll talk with people who've moved on to their plan Bs: an ex-journalist now running a gentlemen's club, a social worker who opened a bike shop, even an aging athlete back on a college basketball court at age 73.

We'll start in Washington, where President Obama is still fleshing out his plan A for the economy. He's already proved he's willing to write big checks to try and jolt the economy back to life. This week's challenge: Look longer-term, and try to get control of the ballooning budget deficit.

NPR's David Welna reports.

DAVID WELNA: By signing into law the gigantic economic stimulus and rolling out a plan to keep people from losing their homes, President Obama kept the focus this past week on what the federal government will spend to bring about economic recovery.

In the coming week, though, the president pivots. His new focus is austerity and restraint. In his weekend address, Mr. Obama said he's convening a fiscal summit tomorrow to discuss how the trillion-dollar deficit he's inherited can be cut.

President BARACK OBAMA: On Tuesday, I will speak to the nation about our urgent national priorities. And on Thursday, I'll release a budget that's sober in its assessments, honest in its accounting, and lays out in detail my strategy for investing in what we need, cutting what we don't, and restoring fiscal discipline.

WELNA: Administration officials say Mr. Obama plans to slash the deficit in half, in part by letting tax cuts expire for those making more than a quarter-million dollars a year. Republicans have pounced on that.

Here's Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty today on "Fox News Sunday."

(Soundbite of television program, "Fox News Sunday")

Governor TIM PAWLENTY (Republican, Minnesota): Wait 'till you see the market's reaction to what he unveils later this week, which is increasing taxes in the middle of a deep, deep recession.

WELNA: Louisiana's Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, will give his party's official response to Mr. Obama's Tuesday address to a joint session of Congress. Jindal told NBC's "Meet the Press" today he won't take $100 million for Louisiana's unemployed that's in the stimulus package.

(Soundbite of television program, "Meet the Press")

Governor BOBBY JINDAL (Republican, Louisiana): I think we just have a fundamental disagreement here. I don't think the best way to do that is for the government to tax and borrow more money. I think the best thing they could have done, for example, was to cut taxes on things like capital gains, the lower tax brackets.

WELNA: Some moderate GOP governors, though, side with the president.

California's Arnold Schwarzenegger told ABC's "This Week" today he fully expects Mr. Obama to raise taxes on wealthier people.

(Soundbite of television program, "This Week")

Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (Republican, California): I don't like that, of course, but I mean, I understand that he has to do what he thinks is best for the country, as much as I had to make decisions what is best for the state of California. So I think that certain things that are inevitable, especially when you have a crisis.

WELNA: David Welna, NPR News, the Capitol.

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