January 25th, 2010
07:55 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama wants to freeze discretionary spending for 3 years


Washington (CNN) - In a move that could help position him in the political center by sharpening his credentials on fiscal discipline, President Obama will announce in Wednesday's State of Union address that he's proposing to save $250 billion by freezing all non-security federal discretionary spending for three years, according to two senior administration officials.

Full coverage: State of the Union address

The senior officials said the budgets of the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs along with some international programs would be exempt from the spending freeze. "We are at war, and we're going to make sure our troops are funded adequately," said one of the senior officials.

The officials would not reveal the details of which specific domestic programs would be cut as they prepare to face major pushback from liberals in the president's own party because popular education and health spending could be on the chopping block. The details will be officially unveiled next Monday, when the president publicly releases his next budget blueprint for fiscal year 2011 (which starts October 1) and beyond.

"We've got to make some tough decisions," said the second senior official. "Everybody is not going to get what they want."

Full story

soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. MatthewDetroit

    Wow the first good idea in the barack white house.

    Now cancel the new stimulus plan.

    Make the banks that were loaned the money pay it back not ALL banks and not some fee garbage.

    Cancel the rest of the tarp money.

    Cancel any more spending.

    Cancel your 10% raise for congress and all of their staff.

    Cancel Cancel Cancel... cut budgets cut spending cut spending cut spending.

    January 25, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. Duke

    "Why would we want to play into the Republicans' hands like this?" asked the senior Senate Democratic aide.

    How about we don't bother about who's "winning" in the Rep. Vs. Dem. brawl and focus a little bit on the country. It get's old when people only have their own best interest at heart.

    January 25, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. Nick - Arlington, VA

    ...and the republicans are still against it...

    January 25, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  4. WYONA OWENS

    Nothing the President does will help the economy until he wakes up and sees that this fix has tostart at the bottom NOT THE TOP. We working people live from paycheck to paycheck. You give us a large amount of money and we have to spend it to survive. All the rich on top keeps, hides or hoards money. So, we have given and given to the rich. WE THE PEOPLE ARENO BETTER OFF. The job issue is a joke. You are chocking the middle class employers to death and they are laying off and closing by the dozens per day. We just get poorer and poorer while you guys inWashington and your friends get RICHER AND RICHER. May be you all need another raise or bonus so I can sleep on the street, THANKS .
    WE HAVE TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK AND STOP GIVING IT AWAY.

    January 25, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  5. T'SAH from Virginia

    And the RepubliCAN'Ts will find something WRONG with this – even though they COMPLAIN about SPENDING!!!

    This proposal should ONLY be approached in a BIPARTISAN matter and it SHOULD NOT take a YEAR to resolve.! BUT, the RepubliCAN'Ts – as you will see – are THINKING of ways to DISRUPT this because it would "set them back" with their agenda to DESTROY and/or AGREE with anything President Obama wants to accomplish!!!!

    Keep your QQ open and your EARS tuned in!!!

    January 25, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. Lortons Finest

    I know he is trying to play hardball with the Republicans, but you don't bite the hand that feeds you!

    January 25, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. Manny

    finally, the administration is taking the war on terror to the next level, or to the correct level, of intensity. I think America has forgotten what it means to "be at war," I would go as far as saying that this war is a new kind of World War, and people need to take it seriously.

    January 25, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  8. Thomas Duke

    I don't believe any of it...

    January 25, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  9. Corrie

    "Everybody is not going to get what they want."- Wow, that and a bulldozer would knock me over.

    January 25, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  10. WYONA OWENS

    As for this so called Health Care Bill. If it's so great then all government senators, congressman, house of represenrtatives, white house employees including the President should be the first ones to be signed up. BOY THAT WOULD SAVE ALOT OF MONEY.
    STOP FORMING ALL THESE GOVERNMENT JOBS , THAT ARE A WASTE. GIVE IT BACK TO US. I HEARD BIDEN SAY THERE WAS AN INFLATION LAST YEAR. WELL, THAT'S A LIE BECAUSE MY SOCIAL SECURITY DIDN'T GET A RAISE TO MATCH THE INFLATION. THE PRESIDENT SAID WE DON'T HAVE ONE. THE GOVERNMENT KEEPS TALKING OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF THEIR MOUTH AND IT DOESN'T SEEM TO ME THAT IT'S GOING TO STOP.

    January 25, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  11. in AK

    Obama finally woke up and sees how unpopular he is! wow! i'm impressed! but then again, he's not really too serious about it, trying to cover up for last tuesdays loss! ha!

    January 25, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  12. joe

    no problem mr. president. i support the effort. notice the republican house leaders response already? NO! NO! NO!. the GOP arguement with this idea..it does not go far enough. when was the last time you heard a republican call for a spending freeze? goes to show you what has been clear along. the GOP does NOT want our president to succeed. pure and simple. how matter what he does they will be against it. way to put your country first you bunch of fools!

    January 25, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. Marty, FL

    Does Boehner's office not see the irony in their hypocritical projection on others? "Unprecedented spending" also broke records under Republicans these past several years. Come on.

    Instead of the nonsensical denial, many Americans would hope Boehner and others might share President Obama's approach here for more fiscal discipline going forward.

    January 25, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. Independant Vet

    I know this does not fit the title , Narry the less , this is where more of your dollars go , with out your approval

    So he is against off shore drilling . Correct .

    Then he goes and gives BRAZIL 2 BILLION for off shore drilling .

    Then where does all that oil go . CHINA .

    The next CLINCHER is that they are uncder a contract to purchase all that oil that this oill field can produce , and none comes to the USA .And we have nothing to Gain.

    Guess who is the biggest stock broker of that oil co. Billonaire , GEORGE SOROS who was one of OBAMA"s finicial Supporters

    Are you still here , connect the dots and follow that money trail .

    January 25, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  15. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    First sensible thing Obama's done. Next step is to start phasing out entitlements.

    January 25, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  16. uran00b

    cutting spending on science, technology, and education and giving more money to the military (which aren't doing nothing to help create life changing/saving technology). grrrrrreeeeeaaaaaaatttt..........

    we are gonna be stuck in the 20th century for decades if this keeps up.

    WE NEED TO MOVE FORWARD HERE!!! WAR IS OBSOLETE

    January 25, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  17. Janice

    I think that President Obama is doing his job. He was put in office to help the americian people. It is not his fault that people have and are loosing their jobs, homes, and businesses. He is doing the best he can with what he has been given. The problem is that all of these issues with the United States started a long time ago. It has been swept under the rug for so long that finding a way out seems to be impossible. He should continue to fight for health care. I have worked in the school system for 16 years. Now I can't afford to pay for health care because it is too high and my income will not cover it. It seems that everytime something comes up, it's his fault. Well, it's not. If the republicians don't try to work with the democrats we are all in big trouble. I wonder how the government would feel if they had health care that cost as much as ours. I wonder how they would feel it it were their homes and jobs being lost. I know how I feel, and I don't like it.

    January 25, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  18. bennie new york

    How sad: when money's a problem for us and the economy's bad, we lay the burden on those who suffer most. And the worst part is that we spend $1 trillion on the military and flat tax the wealthiest Americans. There probably would still be programs and spending we'd have to cut, but certainly not on the mass scale it appears it will be on. Ultimately these decisions really aren't that difficult.

    January 25, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. obama the liar

    WOW... it only took one year to run out of that free obama money. He's in big trouble with the unions now.

    January 25, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  20. Scott, Tucson

    How about obama making some real tough decision on discretionary spending like reining in his and Congressional travel on our dime. That little Climate Change junket that Nancy Pelosi and her cronies went to cost the taxpayers over one million dollars. And that's not counting the cost for obama's trip over there.

    I wonder if obama will have the backbone to freeze all Foreign Aid? Probably not.

    January 25, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  21. JES

    Will this include cost of living and pay increases for all Federal jobs.

    When will the people be able to vote on raises for our Senator' and Congresspeople.

    I don't think I have ever be witness to a job that you can give yourself a raise and cost of living increase when you are an elected official. This needs to stop now and it should be time to have term limits.

    It seems that our elected people in Washington, DC care abot nothing but getting relected and make sure they have the best of everything at our expense.

    It would be great to see this happen but I know I am just wishing and whiwhes don't come true.

    From a really P O tax payer.

    January 25, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  22. Doug

    Sounds great, BUT it will be DOA or Dead On Arrival to after the november elections. Why you ask? Well, this is politics you can put into play with knowing that nothing will happen.

    January 25, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  23. phoenix86

    Obama proposes to save $250 billion after spending close $1 trillion and proposing a plan that would add $10 trillion to the national debt.

    The democratic base must be stoned to believe this guy.

    January 25, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  24. so rich even obama couldn't hurt me but you middle class folk should worry

    and that will save 250 billion! now do you realize how much the 1 trillion stimulus bill which did nothing cost, can you grasp the money that has already been blown! than god we dodged THIS health care bill! not saying reform isn't needed just that these policies and this congress is killing us! but I am sure this is not political posturing at all no no no not at all, I am sure he just suddenly had a change of heart, the bleeding liberal NOW thinks the government needs to cut spending, we need to be more more more ah whats the word CONSERVATIVE, are you libs on board with that???? but of course you are because you are sheep! if obama came out tom and said he was suddenly also against abortion the sheep would agree. so pitiful , this is actually funny, and I like more and more people everyday DO NOT TRUST YOU obama and DO NOT BELIEVE YOU!!!! more and more buddy more and more!!!!

    January 25, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  25. MatthewDetroit

    Barack... How about taking the Stimulus Money back that has not been spent.

    How about taking the 500 million back from ACORN that you and your cronies gave out for votes....

    January 25, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
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