President Obama will not propose a balanced budget in the new fiscal 2014 spending plan that he’ll submit to Congress next week, a White House official said Wednesday.
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said the budget will reduce deficits by an unspecified amount, but it won’t achieve balance like the spending plan that has been approved by House Republicans.
“You don’t want to balance the budget for the purposes of simply balancing the budget, by slashing everything it does to create economic growth, to create jobs,” Mr. Pfeiffer said at a breakfast event hosted by Politico. “And so we’re going to have a budget that helps the middle class, grows the economy, creates jobs and reduces our deficit.”
The White House aide belittled the GOP budget crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, House Budget Committee chairman, which would bring the federal budget into balance over 10 years by cutting $4.6 trillion in spending.
“I know this is the new … poll-tested talking point of the Republicans, that they want to balance the budget,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “That certainly wasn’t what Paul Ryan thought in his last two budgets that didn’t balance.”
Mr. Pfeiffer acknowledged that Mr. Obama’s new budget, which will be submitted nine weeks late, doesn’t achieve balance by its 10th year.
“What our budget will do is follow the path of all of the bipartisan commissions that move us toward putting us [in] a sustainable place,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “It’s going to put us on a path that is consistent with the mutually agreed-upon levels of deficit reduction we should have.”
Mr. Obama has presided over $1 trillion-plus deficits in each of his first four years in office. The budget deficit for the current fiscal year, which ends in September, is projected to be about $850 billion.
Mr. Pfeiffer said the president is still hopeful that he can strike a larger deal with congressional Republicans on long-term deficit reduction coupled with entitlement reform and tax reform.
“The president agrees we should do a big deal,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “We agree with folks that it is absolutely better to do it now. But I think it’s also important to recognize that … we have unemployment that is too high. It doesn’t mean we can’t do some things to help the middle class. If Republicans are willing to do a big deal with the president, you’re going to get tax reform.”
• Dave Boyer can be reached at email@example.com.
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