During his weekly address on February 21, President Obama called the stimulus bill the “first step” on the road to economic recovery. Another necessary step, he explained, is “doing all we can to get exploding deficits under control.” Understanding that the federal budget deficit will probably average at least $1 trillion a year for the next ten years, Obama will spend this week on budget-focused activities designed to prepare the nation for the spending cuts and program changes that will likely have to be made to close the federal budget deficit.
On February 23, Obama held a White House summit on fiscal responsibility that included Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the House and Senate, as well as experts on taxes, health care, Social Security, and the budget process. On February 24 at 9:00 p.m. (EST), the president will outline the severity of the nation’s economic crisis in a speech to a joint session of Congress, and on February 26, he will release a budget that, in his words, is “sober in its assessments, honest in its accounting, and lays out in detail my strategy for investing in what we need, cutting what we don’t, and restoring fiscal discipline.”
The budget that Obama releases this month will summarize spending priorities and broad funding levels for each of the federal agencies. It will also forecast how much the president expects the federal government to spend during each of the next ten years, how much revenue he expects the nation to collect in tax revenue, and how large the gap is between the two. Additional details on Obama’s budget will come this spring.