April 29th, 2009
06:53 PM ET
10 years ago

Congress approves $3.4 trillion budget

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Congress on Wednesday approved a $3.4 trillion budget for the coming year, approving most of President Barack Obama's key spending priorities including increases in health care, education and alternative energy spending.

"What is important to us as a nation is reflected in this budget. It's a very happy day for our country."

Republicans argued the budget reflected reckless taxing and spending priorities that would leave the country in a more fiscally precarious position.

"Budgets are supposed to be about tough decisions, and there are no tough decisions in this budget," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

"It spends an awful lot of money, it raises a lot of taxes, and it puts all of this debt on the backs of our kids and grandkids. This is not the American way. The American way has been about a more limited government."

Under the budget plan, the federal government will run an anticipated deficit of $1.2 trillion in the next fiscal year. The plan promises to cut the deficit by more than half between now and 2012.

"It is clear that more will be needed to address the long-term fiscal imbalance confronting the nation beyond the five-year budget window," Sen. Kent
Conrad said, D-North Dakota.

Under the plan, increases in non-defense discretionary spending are limited to 2.9 percent through 2014. Obama's signature tax cuts from the economic stimulus plan - $400 for individuals and $800 for couples - are slated to expire after 2010.

The measure also allows former President George W. Bush's tax cuts for couples who make more than $250,000 to expire in 2010. The budget compromise largely tracks Obama's initial $3.7 billion
proposed spending plan, with the notable exception to drop his $250 billion request for potential future bailouts of struggling financial institutions.

Fiscally conservative House Democrats, known as Blue Dogs, also negotiated with Democratic leaders to cut $10 billion from the president's $540 billion request for non-defense discretionary spending.

In an additional nod to her caucus' conservatives, Pelosi and House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer sent a letter to Senate leaders "throwing down the gauntlet" to insist that a pay-as-you-go system be followed, which would require new federal spending to be offset with budget cuts or tax increases, a Democratic aide told CNN.

Obama called for the so-called "PAYGO" legislation in his weekend radio address.

The president also gathered his Cabinet members earlier this month and challenged them to cut a total of $100 million in the next 90 days.

In the context of the federal budget, $100 million in savings is a tiny amount, critics charged. It is the equivalent, according to one example, of having a car dealer offer to shave $1 from the cost of a $36,700 vehicle.

"Any amount of savings is obviously welcome," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said at the time. "But ($100 million is) about the
average amount we'll spend every single day just covering the interest on the stimulus package that we passed earlier this year."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said ordinary Americans would nevertheless appreciate the savings effort.

"Only in Washington, D.C., is $100 million dollars not a lot of money. It is where I'm from. It is where I grew up. And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans," Gibbs said.

Filed under: Budget
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. You have just bankrupted....

    your children and grandchildren. As of now, each of your children and grandchildren owe $ 186,000 because of Obama's budget--have fun paying it off--

    April 29, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. Moderate Democrat

    "The spending plan passed without a single Republican vote in either the House or Senate."

    To be read as: "Not a single republican wanted to help people in america. They simply want to watch the people suffer"

    April 29, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. Dawn, MS

    I think this is a good thing. I'm happy they passed the bill. We are slowly trying to drag ourselves up from the grave George W. Bush dug. It won't be pretty and it won't happen over night. But we'll get there.

    April 29, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. bumble bee smith

    l am too old to pay for it

    April 29, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  5. Obama Dem

    I know it sounds scarey, because it IS. . . Truth is I don't like this type of set up, it's not supposed to be this way, but I contributed to a political race for the first time last year because I wanted CHANGE so bad.

    I not only contributed to Obama, but to six other key Senate races including Franken, Udall (x2), Shaheen, Merkley, and Kay.

    I did this in hopes that this anti-conservative swing would actually Change some of the stagnation that has been dissolving our country slowly over the last decade.

    I honestly hope this one-sided affair doesn't have to last long, but only two things can change that for voters like me. . .

    One, the Obama admin. Changes enough dramatically in a few years or,
    Two, the Conservatives learn how to change and be conservative.

    April 29, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  6. Karen - Missouri

    ok...no surprise. We all KNOW the Republicans don't care about turning this economy around or having a country of healthy families. Hurray! no one cared about leaving me with debt back in the days when it was increased to SOLVE A PROBLEM. I guess the Republicans were too busy whining to actually come up with any new ideas...just those stupid tax cuts for the wealthy. Boo hoo

    April 29, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  7. Dave NYC

    Next year can't come too soon – I'm looking forward to seeing some of these long overdue improvements to our country.

    April 29, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  8. Todd

    The true cost of illegal immigration.

    April 29, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. 4 and No More

    Based on the track record for how efficiently these economic wizards are using America's wealth, like with the Wall Street bailouts and the automaker bailouts, I'd say we are in serious trouble letting them write a check this big! ( hey, but look at all the GM stock we'll own )

    This is exactly what senator McCain said would happen with a Democratic administration rubber stamped by a democratic congress. They will spend every dollar they can print and get nothing worthwhile to show for it. It's sad to watch.

    April 29, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  10. You wanna generate some revenue?

    You've got to spend money to make money. So let me ask, would you rather us do nothing and let healthcare tank, education take a back seat, and have us run on oil forever? This is the step of change we were promised.

    I know how to make the republican party like this! All we have to do is change the wording!

    "Congress on Wednesday approved a $3.4 trillion budget for the coming year, approving most of President Barack Obama's key spending priorities including increasing in health-care (which you have to hate because you are a republican and republicans dont allow people to think for themselves), education (WHAT? EDUMICASHUN?! this must mean more money to teach about EVILution!) and alternative energy spending (More Red Bulls!).

    Until the Republican party can come up with a better system, They have no right to comment no matter how many show up to the tea party. Until then, silence couldn't hurt. With every nay-saying bark, they only worsen the party image.

    April 29, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. tax paying American

    It amazes me that any working tax paying man or women thinks this a good thing

    April 29, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  12. NativeTexan

    It's clear to me that if we don't do things to stabilize and improve our economy, invest in our future, reestablish our place in the world as a shining example of liberty, freedom and justice, then our country, our way of life, and any money/investments we've managed to hold on to will perish. I praise Obama for having the courage and stamina to do so much so fast. He's actions should be an inspiration for all Americans to get involved in their community - local, national, global.

    April 29, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. Claudette


    April 29, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. Winn

    Remember, it's hard to barrow and spend ourselves into prosperity! By-the-way, where are those 4,000,000 new jobs the president promised?

    April 29, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. Dan the Man

    I don't think those whom think they are being helped will feel the same way when all of the hidden taxes hit.

    I wonder if the mods are posting an accurate proportion of dissenting views. Most likely not.

    April 29, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  16. sarah kribben


    April 29, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  17. ken

    been trying to spend my way out of delt. for about 60 yrs wish mr oboma and the other 435 would pass it on so i can do the same but remember sirs i only have a small printer

    April 29, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. michaelam

    Rebuilding the USA is long overdo! Finally, we can look ahead and fix the problems we have neglected for waaaay too long.

    Why even waste time stating that the budget passed without a single Republican vote? We all knew that the Party of No would say, "no" again. Now, if this was a budget that included invading, yet another country, they would be all over it. But, no....the budget includes those pesky things like healthcare, education, and alternative energy which the Party of No is against.

    April 29, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. CEE BEE

    hey, Dave. And just who is going to pay for all of these "improvements?"

    when will you learn that there's no such thing as a 'free lunch?'

    April 29, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  20. Dianne

    I hear all this complaining about the budget. Did giving the tax breaks to the wealthy and the middle class paying an unfair share of the nations taxes help? No. The rich got us into this mess. We have always operated in the red except for Pres Clinton administration. Housing interest rates under Reagan were 12 percent. Now the Republicans are worried about negative budget. Get Real.

    April 29, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. cheryl greenwell

    I realize this country is in dire straits, but allocating money to banks without any accountability is insane. My understanding of the budget is that it is so filled with pork, it is rediculous to even consider. With the unemployment as it is and the fact we are rapidly losing all of our industry, who is going to pay this exorbitant bill?

    April 29, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. Anthony

    Ya this uncontrolled spending is good for all of the US we dont need to worry about the middle class or his lies about shrinking deficet no we just keep spending and spending until China owns us because we dug over 12 feet down and cant climb back out so lets keep spending america it may work in the end

    April 29, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  23. The Truth

    Wake up sleepers!!

    April 29, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  24. Kathy

    Horrible. Our grandchildren will suffer, due to the debt.

    April 29, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. Moderate Democrat

    F - can we afford to just keep printing money that we don't have?

    April 29, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
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