Obama's Day Ahead -- Introducing His Budget
President Obama is giving a speech at 9:30 a.m. ET this morning from the White House, at which he will lay out his proposed federal budget. At 2 p.m. ET he will be meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. Then he and Vice President Biden will meet with Tim Geithner at 3 p.m. ET, and then Hillary Clinton at 3:45 p.m. ET. Finally, the president will hold perhaps the most crucial event of the day at 4:45 p.m. ET: A meeting with members of the Chicago Bulls.
Biden Meeting Kosovar Leaders
Later today, Joe Biden will be meeting with a delegation from Kosovo: President Fatmir Sejdiu, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, and Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni.
Report: Deficit To Hit $1.75 Trillion
The first Obama budget will reportedly have a projected federal budget deficit of $1.75 trillion, thanks in part to the one-time mass spending/tax-cutting from the $787 billion stimulus bill.The deficit is expected to stay at about $1 trillion for the next two years, before falling to $533 billion in 2013, after the Bush tax cuts on top-earners would have been allowed to expire.
Obama Seeks Tax And Premium Hikes On Top-Earners To Fund Health Care
President Obama will reportedly seek $634 billion over the next ten years to fund health care for the uninsured. This would be funded by allowing the Bush tax cuts on top-earners to expire, as well as taking other measures such as charging upper-income beneficiaries higher premiums under the Medicare drug plan, which was passed in 2003 without a thorough plan for how to pay for it.
Bill Clinton Gives Thumbs-Up To Obama Speech
In an interview with Greg Sargent, Bill Clinton praised President Obama's Congressional address from Tuesday night, saying it struck the right balance between optimism and realism about the current economic crisis. "I think people appreciate the fact that he's not jerking them around and [is] just telling them the way it is," said Bill. "But they do wanna know that we are gonna get out of this."
Obama's Congressional Address Gets More Than 52 Million Viewers
More than 52 million people watched President Obama's speech to Congress on Tuesday -- effectively his first State of the Union -- according to Nielsen Media Research. Note that this is only the measure of how many people watch on TV, and doesn't include people who watched it online. For comparison, then-President George W. Bush's first Congressional address in early 2001 attracted 39.8 million viewers.
Poll: Public Backs Surge For Afghanistan
A new ABC/Washington Post poll says that about two-thirds of Americans support the recently-announced increase of 17,000 troops for Afghanistan, a sharp contrast to the opposition to then-President Bush's Iraq surge in polling at the time. On the other hand, the public is split evenly on whether the Afghanistan War has been worth its costs, and only say by a 50%-41% margin that winning in Afghanistan is essential for success in broader efforts against terrorism.
Black Caucus Wants White House Involved In Census
CQ reports that the Congressional Black Caucus wants the White House to stay closely involved in the census, a direct counter-point to Republican charges that the Administration might politicize it, due to the importance the program has in allocating federal funds for various programs. Said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA): "I think the census is extremely important, and support for avoiding the undercount takes leadership, and the president has to provide that leadership."