WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is expected to ask for a three-year freeze on part of the federal budget when he gives his State of the Union address tomorrow night.
The freeze would affect about $477 billion in money available for domestic agencies whose budgets are approved by Congress each year. It’s a relatively small portion of the federal budget and is considered discretionary spending.
The Pentagon, veterans programs, foreign aid and Homeland Security would be exempt from the freeze, which would have only a modest impact on a deficit expected to match last year’s $1.4 trillion.
Steps needed to really tackle the deficit include tax increases and curbs on benefit programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. That’s why Obama is backing a plan to create a task force to address the problem. But Senate sponsors of the plan say it’s attracted too much opposition from the right and left to prevail.
Fresh numbers on the deficit are due from the Congressional Budget Office later today. They’re expected to bring more bad news.