U.S. President Barack Obama will gather a group of lawmakers and
economic experts for a meeting Monday to discuss what the White House
calls "fiscal responsibility," with details of his 2010 budget plan to
be released later in the week.
Administration officials told media outlets Sunday that the president
has a plan to cut the huge government budget deficit in half in the
next four years.
Business and labor leaders, academics, and select members of the U.S.
Senate and House of Representatives will gather at Monday's White House
On Tuesday, Mr. Obama speaks to a joint session of Congress about the
state of the nation, and on Thursday he is expected to announce details
of his budget plans.
U.S. media say Mr. Obama plans to cut the deficit by allowing the
expiration of Bush- era tax cuts for the wealthy, removing troops from
Iraq, and cutting government spending.
The measures are projected to reduce the U.S. budget deficit from $1.3 trillion(or nine percent of gross domestic product) to $533 billion (or three percent of GDP).
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday (on CNN's "State of the Union with John King") that he believes the budget will raise taxes on small businesses, and ultimately, hurt the economy.
U.S. state governors are focusing on the federal government's stimulus plan during their annual meeting in Washington.
Most governors say the funds will help them maintain state services
despite the nationwide economic downturn. But many say state revenue
collections are so far below projections that the federal stimulus
money will not make up the difference.
At least two Republican governors have said they may refuse a portion
of the stimulus funds earmarked for their states. Haley Barbour of
Mississippi and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana say they will decline money
aimed at expanding state unemployment insurance.
Other governors, like Michigan's Jennifer Granholm (a Democrat), have offered to accept any money other states refuse.
The state leaders go to the White House Monday for a policy briefing.