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Obama agenda: Off to New Hampshire

The Hill writes, "President Barack Obama on Tuesday will call for a new, $30 billion small business lending fund drawn from bailout funds as part of his push for new job creation. The president will unveil his new "Small Business Lending Fund" during an appearance in Nashua, N.H., part of the series of new proposals meant to bolster economic growth and new jobs."

The New York Times analyzes the deficits in Obama's budget. "In a federal budget filled with mind-boggling statistics, two numbers stand out as particularly stunning, for the way they may change American politics and American power. The first is the projected deficit in the coming year, nearly 11 percent of the country's entire economic output. That is not unprecedented: During the Civil War, World War I and World War II, the United States ran soaring deficits, but usually with the expectation that they would come back down once peace was restored and war spending abated."

"But the second number, buried deeper in the budget's projections, is the one that really commands attention: By President Obama's own optimistic projections, American deficits will not return to what are widely considered sustainable levels over the next 10 years. In fact, in 2019 and 2020 — years after Mr. Obama has left the political scene, even if he serves two terms — they start rising again sharply, to more than 5 percent of gross domestic product. His budget draws a picture of a nation that like many American homeowners simply cannot get above water."

The New York Times on today's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" testimony on Capitol Hill: "Gay rights leaders say they expect Mr. Gates to announce in the interim that the Defense Department will not take action to discharge service members whose sexual orientation is revealed by third parties or jilted partners, one of the most onerous aspects of the law. Pentagon officials had no comment."

The Boston Globe: "Pentagon officials are expected to announce today that they will significantly relax enforcement of the ban on gays serving openly in the military, according to sources inside and outside the military who have been briefed on the plan… Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are expected to announce at least two specific policy shifts: No longer will a 'third party,' such as a spouse or informant outside the military, be able to prompt investigations of service members by saying they are gay; and only generals and admirals will be authorized to decide whether someone should be discharged for being gay. Such decisions are now often made lower in the chain of command."

Broken promise? "Grappling to contain record deficits, President Barack Obama is seeking to end a middle-class tax break he once said would be permanent," The Hill's Alarkon writes. "The $3.8 trillion budget request rolled out by the White House on Monday would renew the Making Work Pay tax credit for fiscal 2011, but then would have it sunset. That's a switch from last year, when Obama's budget called for making the tax credit permanent."

"President Barack Obama's proposed budget represents a "death march" for United States space flight, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Monday," The Hill notes. "Obama has proposed canceling NASA's 'Constellation' project for manned space flight. NASA had hoped to return a man to the moon in 2010. Shelby is the ranking member of the Appropriations subcommittee handling NASA funding, and Alabama is home to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center." Cuts always do look a lot better when they're not in your district.