'Scores' of cuts in Obama budget

By Charles Riley, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- President Obama's upcoming budget will propose cuts to "scores" of federal spending programs, according to the administration's budget chief.

Writing in the New York Times on Sunday, White House budget director Jacob Lew named three domestic programs he said were examples of the "tough calls" Obama is making.

Obama is set to submit his fiscal 2012 budget proposal to Congress a week from Monday, kicking off a months-long debate and negotiation with Congress over how to tame federal deficits. The 2011 deficit is expected to hit $1.5 trillion and mark the third consecutive year of trillion dollar gaps.

In his State of the Union address last month, Obama said he would propose a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending, a move that would save $400 billion.

"To achieve the deeper cuts needed to support this spending freeze, we have had to look beyond the obvious and cut spending for purposes we support," Lew said.

Obama's budget will slash a quarter of the government's funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a move that will save $125 million.

It will also call for scaling back a community service grant program, and for cuts to a community development program that funds projects like housing, sewers and streets, and economic development. The two reductions will save around $650 million.

Lew said the three cuts are emblematic of the "scores of cuts the president had to choose." At the same time, he warned that certain areas of the budget should be off limits until the economy improves.

"We must take care to avoid indiscriminate cuts in areas critical to long-term growth like education, innovation and infrastructure -- cuts that would stifle the economy just as it begins to recover," Lew said. To top of page

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