A billion here, a billion there; pretty soon we're talking about real money
President Obama is seeking an Aug. 1 deadline for overhauling the tax code and making changes to expensive federal health programs, the final pieces of what the administration conceives as a far-reaching plan to rein in the national debt, senior administration officials said Friday.
The proposed deadline was included in a plan Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner delivered to Capitol Hill on Thursday as Obama’s opening bid in talks with congressional Republicans to avert the year-end “fiscal cliff.”
That plan generally mirrors previous deficit-reduction plans Obama has submitted to Congress. In all, it would reduce borrowing over the next decade by $4.5 trillion, officials said. However, Obama is proposing to dedicate about $200 billion of those savings to new measures to boost the sluggish economy, including additional unemployment benefits and extension of a temporary payroll tax cut for most workers.
The overall figure includes about $1.2 trillion in savings already in force as part of previous spending agreements with the Republican House. The White House proposes to raise $1.6 trillion in fresh revenue, with about $1 trillion coming in January, with the expiration of the George W. Bush tax cuts for high earners.