As you probably already know, compared to previous years, the biggest new element of Obama's budget is that it would cut Social Security benefits through chained CPI. Somewhat bizarrely, the White House is saying the proposal is actually a Republican idea and that the president is just including it as a sign of good faith for ongoing fiscal negotiations. Republicans, however, didn't propose the cut in their budget and have already rejected the president's overall plan.
At the summary level, the president's budget is a dollar-for-dollar replica of his proposal earlier this year to replace the sequester. It even includes the same Social Security cut. So what's new here isn't the proposal, but the fact that it is being formally included in the budget. Republicans, obviously, repeatedly rejected the plan in its former life.
The plan calls for a total of $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction compared to the sequester's $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions. It includes $100 billion in defense spending cuts and $580 billion in revenue increases. It also includes $50 billion in stimulus spending and would fund pre-K education for lower- and middle-income families, paid for by raising tobacco taxes.
8:00 AM PT: President Obama takes the podium.
8:00 AM PT: By the way, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have already "prejected" the president's plan earlier this morning.
8:01 AM PT: Deficits are already dropping, says the president, but "we can do more." Obama then pivots to criticizing the negative impacts of the sequester spending cuts. He wants "smarter" cuts instead.
8:02 AM PT: "We can grow our economy and shrink our deficits ... nothing shrinks deficits faster than a growing economy." He's right, but the budget doesn't fully reflect that sentiment.
8:04 AM PT: The president pivots from his comments on deficits to talking about supporting investments in education, from pre-K to high school to college.
8:05 AM PT: Calls out members of Congress who voted for spending cuts and are now complaining about them. "My budget replaces these cuts with smarter ones."
8:07 AM PT: "Our deficits are already falling. Over the past two years I've signed legislation that will reduce our deficits by $2.5 trillion, more than two-thirds through spending cuts. [...] My budgets will reduce deficits by nearly another $2 trillion. [...] It does so in a balanced and responsible way."
8:08 AM PT: "If we want to keep Medicare working as well as it has, if we want to keep the ironclad guarantee, then we need to make some changes [...] The reforms I'm suggesting will strengthen Medicare ... by reducing the cost of health care, not by shifting costs to seniors or their families."
8:10 AM PT: "My budget does also contain the compromise I offered to Boehner" (aka Chained CPI). The president basically tries to disclaim ownership of the proposal, saying it's a Republican idea, but that he's willing to accept it as part of a comprehensive deal, as long as there are "protections" for lower-income seniors. Definitely seemed defensive on that subject.
8:13 AM PT: President Obama has concluded his remarks—nothing we didn't already know, but he did seem defensive on Social Security, which he talked about without explicitly calling it Social Security. He's got a nearly impossible task, trying to explain why he's proposing something that he says he doesn't really want to support but is nonetheless willing to accept.