Bush Sends Congress $2.7T Budget

2007 US Government Budget book over U.S. Capitol building on flag texture
President Bush sent Congress a $2.77 trillion spending plan on Monday that would bolster the nation's war against terrorism but squeeze many other government programs in an effort to deal with an exploding budget deficit projected to hit an all-time high this year.

Mr. Bush, hoping to get his domestic agenda back on track after a year of political setbacks, sent Congress a budget blueprint that emphasizes keeping the country strong militarily while offering mostly modest initiatives to deal with voter anxiety about rising global competition, soaring energy prices and skyrocketing medical bills.

"My administration has focused the nation's resources on our highest priority, protecting our citizens and our homeland," Mr. Bush said in his budget message. "Working with Congress, we have given our men and women on the front lines in the war on terror the funding they need to defeat the enemy and detect, disrupt and dismantle terrorist plots and operations."

Mr. Bush's spending proposals, contained in four massive volumes featuring green and beige covers, are for the 2007 budget year that begins next Oct. 1. The $2.77 trillion in spending would be up by 2.3 percent from projected spending of $2.71 trillion this year.

The administration in its budget documents said the deficit for this year will soar to an all-time high of $423 billion, reflecting increased outlays for the Iraq war and hurricane relief.

But the administration says the deficits will be on a declining path over the next five years, which would allow the president to achieve his goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2009, the year he leaves office.

Mr. Bush is also seeking savings by trimming the growth of spending in Medicare, the government's giant health care program for the elderly and disabled, by $35.9 billion over five years, and making similar reductions in a number of other benefit programs.

"These are not cuts," White House Budget Director Joshua Bolten told reporters of Mr. Bush's Medicare plans. "These are modest reductions in the rate of growth."

With the various reductions, Mr. Bush is able to meet his goal of cutting the deficit in half from 2004 while making permanent sweeping tax cuts enacted during his first term that are now scheduled to end after 2010.

The cost of extending those tax cuts will add $120 billion to the deficit in 2011 and more than $1 trillion to the deficits from 2012 to 2016.