Obama to Propose Deficit Cuts of More Than $1.5 Trillion

Posted August 18th, 2011 at 1:25 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama says he will present a proposal early next month to cut the nation's massive budget deficit by more than currently planned.

On a visit to his home state of Illinois Wednesday, President Obama told residents his proposed deficit reduction will exceed the $1.5 trillion target that a bipartisan congressional committee has been tasked to find.

The group of six Democrats and six Republicans is to identify the cuts by December as part of the deal passed earlier this month to raise the U.S. debt limit.

White House officials say Mr. Obama will also propose several measures aimed at creating jobs, including tax cuts, infrastructure investment and help for the long-term unemployed.

Many Republican lawmakers oppose raising taxes on high-income earners and eliminating tax breaks for big corporations, saying such steps will hurt job creation and undermine the sluggish economic recovery.

Illinois was the final stop on a three-day bus tour that also took the president to Minnesota and Iowa. Mr. Obama spent his time in each state listening to residents' concerns and discussing his ideas for creating jobs. He returned to Washington late Wednesday, ahead of a 10-day vacation to Martha's Vineyard, an island in the northeastern state of Massachusetts.

In his remarks Wednesday, the president called for rebuilding America's roads, bridges and schools, saying such projects traditionally have drawn bipartisan support.

Republicans have criticized Mr. Obama's bus tour, calling it a campaign trip paid for by taxpayers. Republican presidential candidates also have attacked Mr. Obama's record on the economy, with the recovery fading and unemployment still above 9 percent.

An opinion poll published by Gallup this week gave the president a 39-percent job approval rating, the lowest since he took office. Other polls give Congress a much lower approval rating.