President Bush said Monday he will submit a federal budget that will halve the deficit in five years and “maintain strict discipline in spending tax dollars.”
Discussing the fiscal 2006 budget that he will present to Congress in February, the president promised to cut the deficit, which stood at $413 billion last year, without compromising U.S. security or the ability of troops abroad to carry out their missions.
“We will submit a budget that fits the times. It will provide every tool and resource to the military, will protect the homeland, and meet other priorities of the government,” he said.
"It's going to be a tough budget, no doubt about it," he said.
On Social Security, Bush said he recognized that there would be “difficult choices” to be made, but he declined to lay out specifics until Congress has a chance to address the issue.
Beyond proposing allowing younger workers to divert a portion of their payroll taxes into private accounts and saying he will not support an increase in payroll taxes, Bush has refused to offer specifics of his plan.
"The first step in this process is for members of Congress to realize we have a problem," he said.
Without any changes, Social Security would begin paying more in benefits than it takes in by 2018.
The president also listed reforming the tax code, the U.S. legal system and improving achievement in public schools as domestic priorities for his second term.