President Barack Obama called on Congress today to approve another round of short-term budget cuts and also changes in the tax code to eliminate some “loopholes” and avert the next deadline for automatic spending cuts.
“If we’re serious about paying down the deficit,” he said in an appearance in the briefing room of the White House this afternoon, savings from the elimination of tax loopholes can help.
The president’s pitch follows an announcement by the Congressional Budget Office today that the federal budget deficit will fall below $1 trillion this year, for the first time in five years.
The projected annual deficit: $845 billion.
Nevertheless, the accrued deficits projected over the next decade, at least $7 trillion, will push the nation’s publicly held debt to $20 trillion by 2023, according to the independent CBO.
Obama’s appeal for a temporary spending cut comes ahead of a delayed budget sequestration, with about $85 billion in automatic spending cuts due to begin March 1. Congress acted at year’s end to delay a scheduled Jan. 1 round of automatic cuts for two months. The latest congressional debt-limit increase which Obama has signed this week lapses May 19.
“The threat of massive automatic cuts already have threatened business decisions,” Obama said today. “We can’t just cut our way to prosperity.”
“The good news is, this doesn’t have to happen,” the president said.
Already, he said, $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction has been achieved by a balance of cuts and revenue increases.
“I still believe that we can finish the job with a balanced mix” of spending cuts and revenue “reform,”’ he said today. In order to achieve a full $4 trillion in deficit reduction, he said, tax “loopholes” also must be eliminated.
Having said that, he said, the White House may not be ready with its own budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 until March 1.