7:29 AM PT: Here's a live video feed of President Obama's remarks, scheduled for 10:30 AM ET:
7:37 AM PT:
Here's the White House fact sheet
on Obama's remarks: note that the fact sheet focuses on jobs, plugging the American Jobs Act before the deficit plan.
7:44 AM PT: You haven't missed anything yet — it looks like the remarks are running a bit behind schedule.
7:59 AM PT: President Obama just started, and the first words out of his mouth were about the American Jobs Act, which he again urged Congress to pass — "right away." He then segued into a discussion of deficit reduction, saying that his jobs proposal is fully paid for.
8:04 AM PT: Obama's now moving into the thicket of his deficit reduction proposals, positioning them as continuing the work that began over the summer during the debt limit debate. He also took a shot at John Boehner for walking away from a "Grand Bargain." He says his plan includes a $2 in cuts for every $1 in revenue if you take into account this summer's debt limit deal. (The ratio is closer to 1:1 for the proposal he's putting forward today.)
8:08 AM PT: Obama says we can't reduce the deficit with spending cuts alone, taking direct aim at John Boehner for having ruled out tax revenues. "That's not smart, that's not right." Obama says he's proposed major spending cuts, "but they've got to be part of" a plan that also raises revenue. Obama says he wants to see the revenue to come through tax reform, but if tax reform cannot be enacted, then the Bush high-income tax cuts should be expired.
8:10 AM PT: Obama says any tax reform plan "has to include revenue" and must ensure middle-class families don't pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires. This is the Buffet Rule, which Republicans are calling "class warfare." Obama specifically slams that claim, saying it's just "the right thing to do." Wealthy people shouldn't get a better deal than middle-class people, he says. "This is not class warfare, it's math." Not asking the wealthy to pay more means the poor and middle-class will pay the price, he says.
8:16 AM PT: In the closing minutes of his remarks, President Obama issues his veto threat: He will not support, and will veto, any plan that cuts Medicare benefits but doesn't raise revenue from wealthy taxpayers. "We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks that are most vulnerable." That leaves the door open to a Super Congress plan that basically relies mostly on savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan plus other spending cuts, but effectively takes any "Grand Bargain" style deal off the table unless Republicans have a fundamental change of position on taxes.
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NYT's Helene Cooper:
Obama's deficit plan doesn't touch
Social Security or Medicare eligibiity
Mr. Obama will call for $1.5 trillion in tax increases, primarily on the wealthy, through a combination of closing loopholes and limiting the amount that high earners can deduct. The proposal also includes $580 billion in adjustments to health and entitlement programs, including $248 billion to Medicare and $72 billion to Medicaid. Administration officials said that the Medicare cuts would not come from an increase in the Medicare eligibility age.
Senior administration officials who briefed reporters on some of the details of Mr. Obama’s proposal said that the plan also counts a savings of $1.1 trillion from the ending of the American combat mission in Iraq and the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
In laying out his proposal, aides said, Mr. Obama will expressly promise to veto any legislation that seeks to cut the deficit through spending cuts alone and does not include revenue increases in the form of tax increases on the wealthy.
That veto threat will put the president on a direct collision course with the House speaker, John A. Boehner, who said last week that he would not support any legislation that included revenue increases in the form of higher taxes.
That's a pretty good proposal. The vast majority of deficit savings will come from new revenues and locking in the end of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and it won't touch Social Security or the Medicare age.
It doesn't change the fact that the biggest challenge facing the country is reviving jobs growth now, and it doesn't change the fact that sustained economic growth is the best way to get the budget deficit situation under control, but as far as a long-term fiscal policy, it makes sense, and it's fully consistent with what the Democratic Party stands for and should stand for.
Obviously, there's no chance Republicans will go along with Obama's proposal, so today's proposal could very well result in a Super Congress stalemate, triggering automatic spending cuts in 2013. But if the Super Congress won't deliver a reasonable plan, those cuts can be undone, either by this Congress or the next one, so Democrats in Washington and around the country should not be shy about insisting that we tackle the deficit right way—or not at all.
President Obama will deliver remarks on his proposal today at 10:30 AM ET.