WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama intends to propose a three-year freeze in spending that accounts for one-sixth of the federal budget—a move meant to quell rising concern over the deficit but whose practical impact will be muted.
3:18Watch footage of President Barack Obama addressing a meeting of the Middle-Class Task Force, headed by Vice President Joe Biden. Video courtesy of Fox Business Network.
To attack the $1.4 trillion deficit, the White House will propose limits on discretionary spending unrelated to the military, veterans, homeland security and international affairs, according to senior administration officials. Also untouched are big entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
The freeze would affect $447 billion in spending, or 17% of the total federal budget, and would likely be overtaken by growth in the untouched areas of discretionary spending. It’s designed to save $250 billion over the coming decade, compared with what would have been spent had this area been allowed to rise along with inflation.
The administration officials said the cap won’t be imposed across the board. Some areas would see cuts while others, including education and investments related to job creation, would realize increases.
Getty ImagesPresident Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at a meeting of the Middle Class Task Force on Monday.
Among the areas that may be potentially subject to cuts: the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Energy, Transportation, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services.