February 10, 2012 / 6:58 PM / 6 years ago

Obama budget to propose election year spending on jobs, roads

President Obama pauses while he speaks about contraceptive care funding in the press room of the White House, February 10, 2012.Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will project lower deficits and request billions of dollars for infrastructure and jobs in his 2013 budget, laying out a plan he will sell to voters in November, despite Republican criticism of rising federal debts.

Obama's budget proposal, which he will submit to Congress on Monday, will project a $901 billion deficit for fiscal 2013, a sharp drop from the $1.33 trillion funding gap that is predicted for this year, a senior administration official said on Friday.

Obama is expected to repeat a call for millionaires to pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent, while taking aim at the foreign profits of big U.S. corporations.

Congress may ignore Obama's 2013 budget proposal, and with elections approaching in November, Republicans will likely declare it dead on arrival.

But it grants Obama, a Democrat, a platform to lay out his vision of how he would govern if voters grant him a second White House term.

The deficit in 2013 would be equivalent to 5.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), down from 8.5 percent of GDP in 2012. However, the deficit in both years was higher than those forecast by the White House in September for a $956 billion funding gap in 2012 and a $648 billion gap in 2013.

Republicans complain that Obama has consistently used economic assumptions on growth that are too rosy in an effort to make his numbers look better, but the deficit keeps growing.

"Their optimistic projection is that next year's deficit will be almost a trillion dollars - after four straight trillion dollar deficits," said Stephen Miller, spokesman for Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

In September, Obama outlined the broad details of a $3 trillion-plus deficit reduction plan, which his Republican rivals slammed for hiking taxes on the rich.

On Monday, he is expected to repeat proposals to raise $1.6 trillion over a decade through higher taxes, including $886 billion raised by allowing tax breaks for families earning more than $250,000 a year to expire at the end of 2012.

The budget will also earmark $476 billion for infrastructure spending and $350 billion to jump-start job creation, the White House official said. These plans were first announced in Obama's State of the Union address last month, in which he called for more action to improve economic fairness in American.

Obama last year proposed $35 billion a year over six years for surface transportation, claiming this would create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and $50 billion to set up a National Infrastructure Bank. Congress did not fund that plan.

Federal government spending has already been capped for 2013 in a deal Obama and Republicans reached last summer to raise the U.S. debt ceiling. Last month Obama announced defense spending cuts of $487 billion over 10 years.

The budget must still spell out where the axe falls on domestic spending, with $360 billion expected to be saved by controlling growth in the costs of Medicare and Medicaid, federal healthcare programs for elderly and poor Americans.

Additional reporting by Laura MacInnis and David Lawder, editing by Jackie Frank and Stacey Joyce

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