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Obama agenda: Budget day!

"President Obama will send a $3.8 trillion budget to Congress on Monday for the coming fiscal year that would increase financing for education and for civilian research programs by more than 6 percent and provide $25 billion for cash-starved states, even as he seeks to freeze much domestic spending for the rest of his term," The New York Times reported yesterday.

"The budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which begins in October, will identify the winners and losers behind Mr. Obama's proposal for a three-year freeze of a portion of the budget. Many programs at the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Energy Department are in line for increases, along with the Census Bureau. Among the losers would be some public works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers, two historic preservation programs and NASA's mission to return to the Moon." 

USA Today: "President Obama will unveil a record $3.8 trillion budget for 2011 on Monday that would boost war spending, trim domestic spending and rely on $1.3 trillion in new borrowing. The budget would be the third in a row with a deficit of more than $1 trillion. The red ink would be cut nearly in half by 2014, mostly by allowing tax cuts on families making more than $250,000 to expire in 2011." 

The AP adds, "Echoing the pledge in his State of the Union address to make job creation his top priority, Obama put forward a budget that included a $100 billion jobs measure that would provide tax breaks to encourage businesses to boost hiring as well as increased government spending on infrastructure and energy projects. He called for fast congressional action to speed relief to millions left unemployed in the worst recession since the 1930s."

In a blog posting on Saturday, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote, "During these tough economic times, American families are forced to make tough choices about what they can spend money on and what they need to cut from their household budgets. Through the course of the budget process we did the same thing. The President believes we need to be honest about what is working and what isn't and that making tough choices about which programs to fund and which to reduce or terminate is part of governing."

Among the cuts: Consolidating 38 Education Department programs into 11, cutting a National Park Service grant program, and terminating the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative. 

Pfeiffer and OMB Director Peter Orszag held a conference call with reporters last night to discuss the FY2011 budget, NBC's Kelly Paice notes. Orszag said the goal of this budget was to reduce the deficit from 10.6% of GDP (what it is now) to 3.9% (by 2015). But he pointed out the importance of doing so with a "relatively smooth glide path," acknowledging that acting too aggressively could throw the country back into a recession. Orszag also said that this year's budget creates a 10-year deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion, "not including savings of two winding down wars."

He stated that although the GDP is expanding, "the employment market remains weak," with 7 million fewer jobs now compared to December 2007. Therefore, main goals of this budget include job creation and middle class security.

Pfeiffer said, "While we made progress in jobs, we have not made enough," as one out of ten Americans are still looking for work. Pfeiffer added that the president made clear in his State of the Union address last Wednesday that "he wants a jobs bill on his desk as soon as possible."

The New York Times front-pages that the Obama administration is seeking to reform No Child Left Behind. "The Obama administration is proposing a sweeping overhaul of President Bush's signature education law, No Child Left Behind, and will call for broad changes in how schools are judged to be succeeding or failing, as well as for the elimination of the law's 2014 deadline for bringing every American child to academic proficiency."