updated 2/13/2011 5:03:43 PM ET 2011-02-13T22:03:43

President Barack Obama will send Congress on Monday a $3 trillion-plus budget for 2012 that promises $1.1 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade by freezing many domestic programs for five years, trimming military spending and limiting tax deductions for the wealthy.

Jacob Lew, the president's budget director, said Sunday that the new spending plan for the 2012 budget year beginning Oct. 1 would disprove the notion that "we can do this painlessly ... we are going to make tough choices."

Republicans rejected that appraisal, castigating Obama for proposals that will boost spending in such areas as education, public works and research, and charging that Obama's cuts are not deep enough.

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They vowed to push ahead with their own plans to trim $61 billion in spending from the seven months left in the current budget year and then squeeze Obama's 2012 budget plan for billions of dollars in additional savings in response to voters alarmed at an unprecedented flood of red ink.

"He's going to present a budget tomorrow that will continue to destroy jobs by spending too much, borrowing too much and taxing too much," House Speaker John Boehner said on NBC television's "Meet the Press." Boehner released a statement from 150 economists calling on Obama to take immediate action to reduce government spending.

Lew, appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," rejected criticism that the $1.1 trillion deficit-cutting goal fell far short of the $4 trillion in deficit cuts outlined by the president's own bipartisan deficit commission in a plan unveiled last December. That proposal would attack the biggest causes of the deficits — spending on the benefit programs Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — and defense spending.

Story: Obama’s budget seeks deep cuts in domestic spending

Medicare and Medicaid are the government-funded programs that provide health care coverage to the elderly, poor and disabled. Social Security provides monthly payments to retirees.

Obama's budget avoided the painful choices put forward by the commission on benefit programs. Lew said it would be a mistake to say the report did not have an impact on the president's proposals.

An administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity before the budget was released, said one-third of the $1.1 trillion in deficit reduction the administration is projecting over the next decade would come from additional revenue with the bulk of that reflecting the administration's proposal to limit tax deductions by the wealthy for charitable donations, mortgage interest payments and state and local taxes.

The administration has said that its five-year freeze will save $400 billion over the next decade with many programs slated for even bigger cuts. Community development block grants would be trimmed by $300 million and the government's program to help low-income people pay their heating bills would be cut in half for a savings of $2.5 billion, according to an Office of Management and Budget summary.

Story: Obama reportedly to seek changes in Pell Grants

That document also said that the budget would cut the Pentagon's spending plans over the next decade by $78 billion with reductions in various weapons programs deemed unnecessary including the C-17 aircraft, the alternative engine for the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and the Marine expeditionary vehicle.

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The OMB summary said that the $1.1 trillion deficit savings would reduce the deficit as a percentage of the total economy to 3 percent of GDP by the middle of this decade. The deficit is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to surge to an all-time high of $1.5 trillion this year, which would be 9.8 percent of the economy and mark the third consecutive $1 trillion-plus budget gap.

The surging deficits reflect the deep 2007-2009 recession, which cut into government tax revenues as millions were thrown out of work and prompted massive government spending to jump-start economic growth and stabilize the banking system.

Republicans scored significant victories in the November elections by attacking the soaring deficits while the Obama administration argued that the spending was needed to keep the country from falling into an even deeper economic slump.


Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn, Darlene Superville and Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Obama budget looks to put dent in record debt

  1. Closed captioning of: Obama budget looks to put dent in record debt

    >>> president obama sends congress his 2012 budget plan tomorrow. a proposal that including more than $1 trillion in cuts. that may sound like a lot but republicans say it falls short. mike is at the white house to tell us more. good evening.

    >> reporter: good evening. there's been a bipartisan calm over the capital since last year. but with big budget and spending fights looming next week, all that is about to change. even as the obama budget was being readied for release this weekend the president warned it will reveal some painful choices on spending.

    >> it cuts what we can't afford to pay for what we cannot do without. that's what families do in hard times . and that's what our country has to do as well.

    >> reporter: today, top officials said the plan will put a dent in now-record debt and deficits.

    >> we have a responsible budget that will cut in half the deficit by the end of the president's first term.

    >> reporter: the plan would freeze domestic spending for five years and slash $78 billion of military spending including a new fighter engine and more c-17 cargo planes. cut $100 billion from college pell grants , in part, by ending payments for summer school . take $2.5 billion or 50% from low-income heating a substance and limit the mortgage interest deduction for the wealthy along with other cuts it adds up to more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years. still, just a fraction of the projected total.

    >> we're broke.

    >> reporter: republicans are proposing deeper and faster cuts.

    >> what's really dangerous is if we continue to do nothing and allow the status quo to stay in place. when are we going to get serious about cut k spending?

    >> reporter: driven by tea party conservatives this week house gop leaders will vote on cuts totalling $100 billion from this year's budgets affecting a range of items from foreign aid to head-start.

    >> these are not easy cuts but we understand that our country is on a path to fiscal ruin and if we want to get the economy going, we want to get people back to work this is one of the first steps we need to take.

    >> reporter: and lester, the total debt of the country is now above $14 trillion and even with all the talk of cutting the budget, there's no talk, no formal proposals on the table to tackle the biggest-ticket items of all, social security and medicare. lester?

    >> mike at the white house tonight for us. thank you.


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