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. xaipe

    Frankly, I'm not happy about this, but I still feel it's necessary. Hopefully, we'll see some spending on energy infrastructure, which will pay us back over time in spades. TVA, Hover Dam, & interstate highway systems all cost billions of today's dollars, but they still benefit us all today and will continue to do so. Infrastructure spending may not look like a good thing when you're doing it, but done right the payoff is tremendous. Let's hope this is done right, and based on Obama's plans for the energy grid, bringing it into the 21st century, I have every hope that this will be the kind of change we all voted for. We just need to keep on voting for it, making sure those who would rather keep us in the dark ages stay away from the halls of government for a very long time. In fact, until Republicans learn to channel Barry Goldwater rather than follow Rush & the Jesus Freaks into the depths of obscurity as historical footnotes. The majority of us don't believe in a politics weighed down by religious fanaticism.

    April 29, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Carole

    Since we are borrowing the money from Communist China to rebuild America's infrastructure; does that mean Communist China will own America once and for all? This spending spree is rediculous. Bring our jobs back that the greedy CEO's sent overseas and America will grow again. How is it that no one is talking about this fact?

    April 29, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Dottie Stewart

    He has been dealt a bad hand. He will get better and we need to give him more time. It's the banks that are te problem and as a retired Banker I am very disappointed in my former Industry.

    April 29, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. jans

    Congress is out of touch with the working person. When was the last time they paid a utility bill or filled their car with gas. Yet these are the people who make the laws we live by. I did not vote for these people, they had the money and the connections to get into office. Good for them bad for us.

    April 29, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. ib

    I didn't like the spending under Bush and the spending under Obama is absurd. Look out here comes inflation and higher unemployment and taxes like we've never seen before. BYE BYE USA

    April 29, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. and our kids lives have been mortgaged

    and it probably is no ones fault, but a currency revaluation is destined to happen

    April 29, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. Akman

    work, work, work and pay, pay, pay. What a bunch of chumps we are.
    When will people learn to help them selves? When did we become such a helpless bunch?

    April 29, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. massachusetts demo

    I am hoping that this overwhelmingly, astronomical, expensive federal budget will help America become more green, more healthy, more educated and more willing to serve for its future
    or else ... it is a colossal waste.

    April 29, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. Matt

    Of course they did It's not like any of them pay taxes. Isn't it time for the governement to start brown bagging their own lunch to work. They literally get a free lunch every day.

    April 29, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. sabrina , royal oak

    Good, its about time we spent money on our own people. Now that the many other countries have our jobs perhaps they can start paying for their own schooling at our university's and quit getting as much aid from the people of this nation who have footed the bill for years and are thanked by getting the boot right out of their jobs, homes, etc.
    Next we can reduce HUGE DEFICITS and quit forking out huge pensions to all of our govt workers EXCEPT our Military. We can save trillions on the over payments of multiple pensions for these greedy taxpayer gluttons whom have soaked us by making decisions to take away our lively hoods and leave us with debts for the partying they have done with severe consequences to the people they were elected by.

    April 29, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. Sandra

    Why do so many of you think it is the Governments job to take care of you? Aren't you capable of taking care of yourself and earning a living?

    April 29, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Dominic, NC

    First I will say that I am neither donkey or elephant.

    I do not understand how when the republicans call the democrats names and bash their policies it is "fear mongering" and "hate speech," but when the democrats bash the republicans or their policies it is OK. I think the republicans need to wise up admit there are problems and work towards bipartisan solutions, but I also think the democrats need to stop throwing mud and money at everything.

    April 29, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. The Truth

    The country runs on the peoples debt...Its all oure not yours...amen

    April 29, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  14. The Truth

    And the truth shall set you free!!

    April 29, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Mark

    HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I don't care if you are poor, middle class,rich, Republican, Democrat, or Independent or whatever,this budget is rediculous. Where do any of you think all this money is going to come from??? We are chasing manufacturing out of the country with higher wages, osha requirements, city taxes, property taxes, State taxes, federal taxes, sales tax, higher utility bills via new legislation,social security, medical insurance run by govt. and etc. The poor small business owners face the same issues. Our politicans are scaring the begeebers out of them so they save every dime they have and don't spend or expand. As for others you are taking away their own feelings of accomplishment by not allowing people to make a living on their own like the folks did in the early to mid 1900s. We keep worrying about our grandchildren, but with this budget we need to worry about the next few years. Ask any old timer farmer how you make it and they will tell you I never spend what I don't have. Guess by the time this comment gets in the government will figure out how to get the farmers land,the small business owners property, and manufacturings money....Now there will be no one left to buy your property to pay for your stupid budget.

    April 29, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. Brandon swilly barboa


    congress gets an f
    for voting
    34 million and counting
    feel your wallets
    floating away ..

    April 29, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. Chief Obidike Ajuluchuku

    There are many ways to borrow and pay back. stop the war and
    get back the money, If we slow down the importation of goods from china,
    get back the money. If Greedy American workers will work for a little less money,
    get back the money. If multi-million dollar investors will take a little less dividend, get back the money. If southern separatist will work with the president, the nation will work in unity.

    April 29, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. Carol Taylor

    What we need is another President and Congress in office. What in the world in the matter with all these Democrats. We all know you have nothing to Fret about, Your Health Care and Retirement is paid for. Why don't you let each individual vote and perhaps this world would be a better place. You need to be in the real world people not in Fairy Tale Land. Look at all the money collected at 34 Thousand Dollars a Plate for Dinner. Most of us don't make that in a year.

    April 29, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  19. Mike from Shelburne, VT

    The budget for 2007 was 2.7 trillion, and the budget for 2008 was 2.9 trillion. Yes, that's a fairly high increase to 3.4, but when you think about what its going to be used for, its worth it. Finally we'll have money filtering down to things that need it, like education, health care and more, not starting failed wars that don't have valid reasons in the first place. I'll be one of the people paying it off...but think about it. We're already more than 10 trillion in debt, but conservatives don't seem to care, or even remember that. No, its when a Democrat raises spending its an issue. Where was your protests when the wars reached hundreds of billions? Now, when we're going to actually see some of that money in day to day lives...its a mixed up world.

    April 29, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  20. Moderate Democrat

    A+ Re investing in America is an absolute necessity if we are to rebuild this once great nation. The utter destruction of our infrastructure by the GOP and Conservatives requires 'make up' time for all the years it was neglected.

    It's time we help OUR country with OUR money, rather then use it to kill our children in foreing/illegal wars killing innocent by standers in the process.

    April 29, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  21. Beth

    You people don't seem to get it! The Republicans DO care about this country, and that is why they voted against it, along with 20-something Democrats. I don't care what party affiliation you are- we don't have the money to pay for this. Yes, Obama inherited this recession, but once he passed the stimulus bill, he now owns it. No more blaming Bush or Republicans.

    April 29, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  22. John J

    Just to let you know the republicans you are blaming are NOT real Republicans. they are super neo-liberal democrats dressed in red coats. bush and the republican now had democratic views.

    one question I would like to ask All of you

    Do some of you take time to read your bill of rights and constitution.
    SEE Central Banks, Wold Bank
    SEE Federal Reserve Bank ( Its not federal and there nothing in it reserved for the People)
    SEE J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, Citi Corp.
    You'll be suprised what you'll put together.

    April 29, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |

    Bush spent 2.9 trillion for 2008 budget. SO PLEASE SPARE US THE CHICKEN LITTLE SKY IS FALLING BS.

    Our country is crumbling around us, our children are no longer receiving the BEST education in the world, and we are all slowly going in to debt over health care as it is.

    This budget IS NEEDED to fix the problems now before we burst at the seems with health care debt in 15 years, our children can't read, and all of our bridges, roads, etc. fall apart.

    Obama is finding ways to cover this budget and take the burden OFF the middle class. Repubs you have offered no better solutions and we all know how well your last ideas worked out....

    April 29, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. Marianne

    Change is not always good. Not when it costs you the livelyhood of our future generations. Liberals, get a grip. The government cannot solve your problems, grow up and take care of yourself and if you can't do that ,move to some other country that will take all your tax money and even wipe your nose for you. Your all a bunch of whinny babies. You think that if a politician does not want to vote for this stupid budget that they want to watch you suffer. They want you to grow up and stand on your own two feet and stop being so short sighted, only careing about yourself and not caring about the future of this country.

    April 29, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |



    Republicans need to quit lying, name calling, and fear mongering. WE DON'T BELIEVE IT.

    April 29, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
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