President Carter will wait until after the March 25 New York primary before providing a breakdown of which programs and constituent groups will be hurt by his new budget-cutting proposals.
Without directly mentioning political considerations, budget chief James T. McIntyre told reporters yesterday he did not yet have details of the $13 billion in cuts Carter has proposed and will not reveal them until the end of this month.
McIntyre also disclosed that the administration is "looking at ways to mitigate the impact; of various program cuts upon cities and the poor, and hopes to come up with some recommendations before the budget cuts are made public.
Carter's economic advisers have just completed 10 days of marathon negotiations with Congress in which leading lawmakers agreed to $18.4 billion in budget cuts the White House proposed. Much of the time was spent discussing details.
According to participants, most of the proposed spending cuts would affect programs designed to aid cities and the poor -- groups that traditionally have been a major concern to New York's largely liberal voting population.
The president also is facing two other primaries between now and the end of the month -- in Illinois next Tuesday and in Connecticut March 25. Carter's chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), has opposed big domestic spending cuts.
McIntyre and Treasury Secretary G. William Miller did not explain how the White House could arrive at a total of $13 billion to $14 billion for the president's package cuts without first nailing down the major components. The two men, along with inflation adviser Alfred E. Kahn and Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Charles Schultze, briefed reporters on the new policy yesterday.
Carter denied Friday in a news conference that his budget cuts would fall unfairly on the poor. He said "the best thing I can do for the poor" is to combat inflation because "they are the ones who are most damaged by it."
The president also has cautioned repeatedly that his new anti-inflation measures will not slow the price spiral immediately, but officials predicted yesterday that inflation would ease substantially by the end of this year.
McIntyre said yesterday he was still negotiating with individual Cabinet officers over specifics of some of the cuts. He sidestepped a question inquiring whether the delay might be linked to a reluctance to upset the primaries.
The development came as the House Budget Committee made plans for a caucus of panel Democrats tomorrow to discuss proposals for a fiscal 1981 congressional resolution containing $18 billion in specific cuts.
It appeared yesterday that the panel would have to begin its drafting next week without detailed proposals from the administration. Committee Chairman Robert N. Giaimo (D-Conn.) is expected to unveil his own recommendations Tuesday.
The budget documents distributed as part of Carter's new anti-inflation announcement Friday listed specifics for only $3.1 billion of the $13 billion in cuts the president has said he will propose.
However, documents obtained from other sources show the administration provided details of billions of dollars in potential cuts in its talks with congressional leaders last week. Carter may not embrace all those proposals.
McIntyre's comments came at a news conference in which administration economic officials defended the president's new anti-inflation program and denied that the White House had seriously erred in recommending the earlier budget last January.
Miller also confirmed that the administration has no commitments from congressional leaders that Congress will enact the 10-cent-a-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax that Carter has said he will seek to replace his oil-import fee.
If the lawmakers balk at approving the gasoline tax hike, the president will have to continue the import fee. However, Carter's authority to impose the fee expires in Spetember 1981.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul A. Volcker told a separate news conference that the Fed's crackdown on consumer and business credit "will be broadly felt" in the economy and that "a certain amount of pain is inevitable."
Volcker declined to say how long the Fed would continue its restraints, except to say they would remain in effect "as long as necessary and as short as possible." He also refused to predict how the financial markets would react to the plan.
The Fed chairman and the administration appeared to clash over whether the White House could have foreseen the January surge in the consumer price index, which helped provoke the policy shift.
Volcker told reporters he thought the increase "was foreseeable" in view of December's increases in crude oil prices, and shouldn't have been unexpected" at the time the White House was planning the budget.
A few minutes later, however, Miller asserted that at least part of the inflation surge was a surprise, and insisted that the administration's original budget in January had been appropriate for the outlook at that time.
Volcker also disclosed that the Fed was not attempting to push interest rates up further when it announced Friday it would charge an extra 3 percentage points in interest to large commercial banks that borrow frequently from the Fed.
The chairman said the move was designed only to bring the discount rate for "frequent" borrowers "into line with money-market rates." "We are not intending by this action itself to guide market rates," he said.
Meanwhile, Carter won support for his proposal to collect withholding taxes on interest and dividends from the group that previously was instrumental in defeating it -- the American Bankers Association.
C. C. Hope, the organization's president, said in a telephone interview yesterday that Carter had "made a good case for this" and "we will support it" when the bill comes up in Congress. ABA opposition routed the measure in 1976.
Carter announced Friday he was scrapping his January budget proposals and was asking Congress to cut $13 billion to $14 billion from the spending levels that earlier plan sought.
He also imposed a $4.62-a-barrel import fee on oil that is expected to raise $11 billion in new revenues and to raise gasoline prices 10 cents a gallon. And he set in motion a major crackdown by the Fed on business and consumer credit.
The major specific budget cuts that Carter disclosed Friday were $1.7 billion by eliminating the states' portion of the federal revenue-sharing program, and a still-unannounced reduction in the public-service jobs program.
However, the proposals the White House negotiated with congressional leaders last week include:
Saving $300 million by cutting back the amount of food stamps a needy family can receive in cases where the youngsters also qualify for free school lunches.
Cutting $200 million by paring back a planned increase in the $2.4 billion low-income energy assistance program Congress enacted last year.
Saving $100 million by eliminating the special milk subsidy now granted both wealthy and poor public school districts to buy milk.
Cutting $50 million by eliminating the current overlap between the Work Incentive Program (WIN) and the public-service jobs program.
Saving $60 million by postponing acquisition of park land by the Interior Department.