Obama budget gets Congress thumbs up

03-04-2009

Obama budget gets Congress thumbs up
Barack Obama's budget plans for the United States - worth three times the package of measures unveiled at the G20 yesterday - have been approved by Congress.

Two separate versions of the $3.55 trillion plan for the year beginning October 1st were passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate despite Republican opposition.

Republicans proposed their own version of the budget that emphasises cutting deficits and social spending with tax breaks for businesses and individuals.

"Democrats know that those policies are the wrong way to go," said House majority leader Steny Hoyer.

"Our budget lays the groundwork for a sustained, shared and job-creating recovery."

Differences between the two budgets will be negotiated over the coming weeks.

President Obama, who inherited a $1.2 trillion deficit, wants to use the budget to help push through healthcare, education and environmental reforms.

In a statement released in London on Thursday, where the president was attending the G20 summit, he said: "This budget resolution embraces our most fundamental priorities: an energy plan that will end our dependence on foreign oil and spur a new clean energy economy; an education system that will ensure our children will be able to compete in the economy of the 21st century; and healthcare reform that finally confronts the back-breaking costs plaguing families, businesses and government alike.

"And by making hard choices and challenging the old ways of doing business, we will cut in half the budget deficit we inherited within four years. With this vote comes an obligation to pursue our efforts to go through the budget line-by-line, searching for additional savings. Like the families we serve, we must cut the things we don't need to invest in those we do."

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