President Calls for ‘Across-the-Board’ Spending Cuts, Tax Increases to Tackle Debt

President Barack Obama, stepping more forcefully into the debate about taming the nation’s long-term budget deficits, called for Congress to commit to “across-the-board” cuts in spending as well as tax increases if the nation’s deficit isn’t brought under control by 2014.

The proposal is meant to force lawmakers to quickly move to bring down spending and collect more revenue. But approval of his plan will likely prove difficult. Many Republicans are adamantly opposed to tax increases, and many Democrats resist the heavy spending cuts the White House is now offering.

Still, members of both parties have said the only way the White House can win the congressional support it needs in the coming weeks to raise the federal debt ceiling is if there is significant progress on deficit-reduction efforts. The administration’s new plan could mark the start of that effort.

Mr. Obama is calling for House and Senate leaders to designate lawmakers to begin negotiations in early May with Vice President Joseph Biden “to agree on a legislative framework for comprehensive deficit reduction.”

The U.S. is expected to hit the debt ceiling no later than May 16, and Treasury officials believe the country could default on its debt by July 8 if the ceiling is not raised.



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