January 25th, 2010
07:55 PM ET
12 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."

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soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    desperation??? sounds like

    January 25, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  2. Mike

    Interesting.........how come he did not suggest this before now......I think he must be responding to the wake up call he has been getting from the voters. I think he can do way way better than this.....The people deserve it and are demanding it......I am sure our new president in 2012 will.

    January 25, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  3. Jack

    President Obama should instead freeze spending in republican districts for the remainder of his term. The republicans under George Bush ran the biggest pork barrel shift in spending this country has ever known. Federal spending under the republicans was shifted to states and districts friendly to the republicans starting with Ronald Reagan and accelerating under George Bush.

    Spend less yes but, spend it in States that were frozen out during the republican leadership.

    January 25, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  4. ib

    Obama doesn't know how to do anything but spend; spend. He will change this he can't stop his out of controll spending.

    January 25, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  5. Obama - forget it !

    Let's cut Obama's salary – he squanders billions of taxpayer's money, so he is himself a waste of taxpayer 's money.

    January 25, 2010 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  6. Greg, MN

    Great Idea, it would have been a better idea a trillion dollars ago!!

    January 25, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  7. Mr Right

    More talk , seems he is full of it, talk talk talk.
    Very little to see here people, move along.
    Have a nice day

    January 25, 2010 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  8. Obamalism

    a little late for that bud...

    I hope it works, though I doubt it will earn him any voters back.

    January 25, 2010 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  9. Danny J

    So lemme get this straight:

    John McCain proposed just this over a year ago. Obama says he was nuts for proposing what amounts to performing surgery with a chainsaw instead of a scalpel. 1 year later, the economy plummets, and Obama does McCain's idea. Why did we vote in a guy that may finally do the right thing after a year of suffering?

    Too little, too late!

    January 25, 2010 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |

    Good ,,, he's spent more than enough for an entire term.

    January 25, 2010 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  11. barry

    i support our president..the past year hearing every single nite on the evening news health care,,,health care,,,when millions have lost jobs and the countries tax revenues have fallen due to high unemployment..not 10% but 17%...make health care happen but put americans back to work..the stimulus saved jobs but did not create jobs...american want good paying jobs...then health care

    January 25, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  12. JD

    I have a better idea. Revoke the porkulus spending immediately and withdraw all funding of the liberal pet projects that 0bama and his liberal ilk have forced on the American public. The savings will be FAR greater than the spit in the ocean of debt that 0bama has created in just one year.

    January 25, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  13. Jon from: S.Carolina

    Good, less spending is starting & all we need 2 do is pay China back. A debt free America is a strong America!

    January 25, 2010 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. Ravi

    The CongressCritters should realize that some programs MUST be cut if we're going to start paying down the debt. I don't care how popular they are. We can't allow the feds to keep running up the people's credit card. Cut the fed gov credit card, and start paying down that card now!!!

    January 25, 2010 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  15. Ray

    It is about time we put a stop to all of the discretionary spending.

    January 25, 2010 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  16. Matt

    While I support reducing deficits, cutting spending during a downturn does not make economic sense. It also flies in the face of the idea that government spending can help promote the creation and avoid the loss of jobs. After all, if the administration wants to make the case for a second stimulus, how can they reconcile this idea with that?

    January 25, 2010 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  17. patriot

    Obuma kicking the libs. to the curb, he's does care who he throws under bus as long as he's driving. 4 and done

    January 25, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  18. wbn

    Who is this and what has he done with the President??? It's a little late for Obama to portray himself as a fiscal conservative; it just makes him look insincere. Bush failed to do enough through bipartisan committees; Obama is doing the same. Bipartisanship is not getting a few votes from the "other" party; it is letting the other party actually have a voice in the decision-making process. If Obama will do that, he will be more moderate, and thus more popular, and thus truly bipartisan.

    January 25, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  19. Ed

    I didn't vote for him to take this path. I'm very disappointed to see he has adopted the fiscal strategies of Bush/Cheney. And I love this term "discretionary spending." What that really means is no money for internal needs and lots of money for military/weapons industrial companies. Does "discretionary spending" include foreign aid for countries like Israel, Iraq, and Afganistan? I bet it doesn't, they will find a way to give it away.

    January 25, 2010 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  20. Not Enough

    The government saying they will freeze the discretionary spending, which amount to only 1/6 of the overall budget, is sort of like the big bad wolf telling the three pigs that he will only eat 2 of them.

    It's not enough, if you freeze the 1/6, but continue to raise the remainig 5/6 then we will be is the budget hole. What we need to do is kill every pet project on the budget.

    Its not any different then how the people are surveying in the economy. If its not spent to put food on the table, a roof over your head, educate the kids or enable your job, then it is discretionary and it gets cut.

    January 25, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  21. alex

    Doesn't that mean that he will just veto any budgets where discretionary spending is larger than it is now? How is not taking on more debt the same as saving money? Doesn't saving imply surplus?

    January 25, 2010 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  22. Jerry

    Save 250 billion over three years after wasting more than 2 trillion in a year, Obama is my fiscal hero, let the impeachment begin.

    January 25, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  23. Great news......

    Obama beating down the progressive wing of his party......Pelosi might as well retire.....no money for her to spend on socialist programs means no power for Madam Speaker.....Bye Bye....

    January 25, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  24. Sue

    The very idea that oBOMBa states that he is not interested Mainly in his ratings is a flat out lie. And he does not have to worry about a Second Term Pres cause he will never be re-elected. Furthermore he's laughable about being a one term leader!!!! And let's see if he can speak at all without a CANNED speech and make some sense of his gibberish this week while he realizes he can't fool all of the people ALL of the time!!! He only fools Himself.
    Useless leader with nothing but useless textbook style amblings!!!

    January 25, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  25. liberal wingnut

    That is a drop in the bucket but a move in the right direction.

    January 25, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
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