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Does President Obama place a priority on a balanced budget?

Roger Caldwell

Does President Obama place a priority on a balanced budget?

By Roger Caldwell

      March is budget time in Washington and many Americans would expect the government to run their finances the same way they manage their budget at home. But for 40 straight months the Obama administration has run a deficit. But everywhere you look around the country, everyone says that the economy is getting better.

     The fiscal year starts October 1st and runs through September 30th of the next year. Theoretically, the president submits a budget proposal by the first Monday in February, and the budgets committees in both the Senate and the House analyze the budget proposal and submit a budget resolution by April 1. Once the two Houses agree on the budget resolution, they put together a resolved resolution and send it to the appropriations committees around April 15. Once the Senate and the House resolve their differences, they send the budget to the president to sign into law.

     It is obvious that there is a tremendous amount of work and compromise that goes into getting a bill through the entire process. President Obama has been in office for four years and his administration has never been able to get a budget through the entire process and get it signed into law. Congress and the Obama Administration have not passed a budget in four years and have been running the country on continuing resolutions.

Continuing resolutions are a type of appropriations legislation used to fund government agencies. In order to keep the government from shutting down, the lawmakers pass continuing resolutions. On March 27, 2013, Congress has the ability to shut down our government, but both parties in both Houses have said that they will avert a shutdown.

     This is the first year that the president has discussed with both parties at length about their goals and philosophy concerning their budgets. It does appear that the president is willing to make concessions to get bipartisan support from both Houses. On Friday night March 22, 2013, the Senate pulled an all nighter and passed a budget at 5 a.m. in the morning.

     The budget was passed by a vote of 50 to 49, and it is the first time this has happened in 4 years. The budget calls for a $3.7 trillion budget with a spending plan of almost $1 trillion in tax increases over the next decade, and $100 billion for job training programs and infrastructure projects. Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) chair of the Senate Budget Committee says, “The budget is balanced in a different way, between spending cuts and tax increases, instead of using only cuts to reduce the deficit like the House.”

     Two days before that, the House passed its budget crafted by Budget Chairmen Paul Ryan, and they are different as night and day. Paul Ryan’s budget calls for a balanced budget in 10 years with an emphasis on cutting. He plans to cut $4.6 trillion in 10 years and $61 billion this year, and roll back several of President Obama’s policies.

Both Houses are on different sides of the fence and it will be very difficult for them to compromise and agree. Many experts think that Ryan’s budget is unrealistic, but it was passed in the House, and that is what everyone is working with.

     In a week the president will submit his budget and it will be interesting to see if he can resolve some of the differences. This is the first in four years that both Houses have agreed on a budget and now the job is for them to resolve their differences, without shutting down the government.

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