Obama Touts Budget as 'Blueprint for Our Future'

President Barack Obama is again asking Congress to pass his $3.6 trillion budget, saying it will 'spark the transformation' the country needs to remain economically competitive. Video by AP
By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 17, 2009; 1:15 PM

President Obama today offered a strong pitch and preemptive defense of his budget proposal, calling it an "economic blueprint for our future, a foundation on which to build a recovery that lasts."

Speaking to reporters after meeting with the chairmen of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), and the House committee, John Spratt Jr. (D-S.C.), Obama reiterated much of what he has said about his priorities to change health care, public education and energy policy in part through spending contained in his $3.6 trillion proposal.

But his comments came as Republicans raised the volume of criticism against a plan they have called overly extravagant given the country's difficult economic times.

Obama noted today that "this budget does not attempt to solve every problems or address every issue. Because of the massive deficit we inherited and the enormous costs of the financial crisis, we have made some tough choices."

The president said his plan would cut the Bush-era budget deficit in half by the end of his term, although economists say that goal relies on economic projections that might be overly optimistic. He also said, "We're going to get some numbers with respect to the budget that may make this even tougher in the coming weeks," referring to the agenda he outlined.

"There are those who say the plans in this budget are too ambitious to enact . . . that in the face of challenges we face, we should be trying to do less than more," Obama said. "What I say is that the challenges we face are too large to ignore."

Obama called for a bipartisan debate over the budget, saying, "What we need in Washington are not more political tactics. We need more good ideas."

" 'Just say no' is the right advice to give your teenager about drugs," the president said. "It is not an acceptable response to whatever economic policy is proposed by the other party."

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