The freeze would take effect in October and limit the overall budget for agencies other than the military, veterans affairs, homeland security and certain international programs to $447 billion a year for the remainder of Obama’s first term, senior administration officials said Monday, imposing sharp limits on his ability to begin initiatives in education, the environment and other areas of domestic policy.
Although the freeze would shave no more than $15 billion off next year’s budget — barely denting a deficit projected to exceed $1 trillion for the third year in a row — White House officials said it could save significantly more during the next decade. They described the freeze as a critical component of a broader deficit-reduction campaign intended to restore confidence in Obama’s ability to control the excesses of Washington and the most lavish aspirations of his own administration
It is also unlikely to affect the approximately $900 billion health-care bill, which has been on life-support since the Massachusetts vote. In an interview with ABC News on Monday, Obama vowed to press ahead with health care and other first-year agenda items, even it means jeopardizing his reelection chances in 2012.
Late Monday, Republicans mocked the idea of a Democratic spending freeze. “Given Washington Democrats’ unprecedented spending binge, this is like announcing you’re going on a diet after winning a pie-eating contest,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).
Democrats, meanwhile, are likely to give the freeze a mixed response. Conservatives, including Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.) and members of the House Blue Dog Coalition, have been calling for a freeze backed by the threat of a presidential veto. But liberals have resisted freezing spending, particularly on social programs, and are likely to call on Obama to extend any freeze to military programs, aides said.
As a candidate, Obama criticized a spending freeze proposed by his GOP opponent, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, comparing it to “using a hatchet to cut the fed budget. I want to use a scalpel.”
I guess that scapel got buried in Wall Street.