Barack Obama to offer cuts to programmes in a budget proposal aimed at swaying Republicans on US deficit deal

Friday 05 April 2013 11.09
Barack Obama will only accept spending cuts if Republicans agree to higher taxes
Barack Obama will only accept spending cuts if Republicans agree to higher taxes

US President Barack Obama is to offer cuts to social security and other entitlement programmes in a budget proposal aimed at swaying Republicans to compromise on a deficit-reduction deal, a senior administration official has said.

Under a proposal that would cut the deficit by $1.8 trillion (€1.39 trillion) over ten years, the president will offer to apply a less generous measure of inflation to calculate cost-of-living increases, the official said on condition of anonymity.

That change would result in lower payments to some beneficiaries of the social security programme for retirees and is staunchly opposed by many congressional Democrats, as well as labour and retiree groups.

President Obama would agree to cuts to other so-called entitlement programmes, the official said.

However, the president will only accept these spending cuts if congressional Republicans, for their part, agree to higher taxes.

The president's budget proposal is due to be laid out in full on Wednesday.

The president's renewed offer of fiscal negotiations with congressional Republicans follows a series of bitter battles over taxes and spending that date back to 2011.

Mr Obama is eager to put the issue of deficit reduction behind him and move on to other priorities, which include immigration and gun control legislation.

Several attempts to reach an agreement balancing spending cuts with tax increases have failed and prospects for a deal remain doubtful.

House Speaker John Boehner, who let taxes rise for the wealthiest Americans earlier this year, has said any further revenue increases are off the table.