Obama Pledges to Cut Deficit in Half

Democratic leadership releases omnibus spending bill.

President Obama opened a "Fiscal Responsibility Summit" at the White House Monday with a pledge to cut in half the nation's $1.3 trillion deficit by the end of his first term. He also promised to observe "pay-as-you-go" budget rules. Those rules require increased spending or tax cuts to be offset by spending cuts or revenue increases elsewhere.

The President's proposed budget will be released this Thursday and could impact agriculture. Obama is expected to let some tax cuts, championed by former President Bush, expire on schedule in 2011. That would raise the tax bill for families earning more than $250,000 a year, and families with estates in excess of $3.5 million would pay more in taxes.

Also on Monday, House Democratic leaders released a $410 billion omnibus spending measure that would wrap up work on the fiscal year 2009 appropriations bills. The bill's writers say this bill works in harmony with the economic recovery package, making investments that address the country's immediate needs while investing in our long term economic strength.

Of interest to agriculture, the bill would increase funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts; make strong investments in cutting edge science; and addresses Healthcare Access and Affordability.

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