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American Forces Press Service

Budget Proposal’s Tough Cuts ‘Absolutely Necessary,’ Obama Says

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2012 – President Barack Obama today called his fiscal 2013 budget proposal a blueprint to an economy built to last that will require tough cuts and shared responsibility.

“The main idea in the budget is … at a time when our economy is growing and creating jobs at a faster clip, we've got to do everything in our power to keep this recovery on track,” Obama said.

Speaking to students at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., Obama talked about tough choices regarding the budget designed to help in reducing the country’s deficit.

“Part of our job is to bring down our deficit,” he said. “And if Congress adopts this budget, then along with the cuts that we've already made, we'll be able to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion by the year 2022.”

According to documents released today, the details of the president’s budget request reflect the $487 billion in reductions the Budget Control Act set for defense spending over the next 10 years. The president acknowledged he is proposing difficult cuts, and added that he wouldn’t have proposed them if they weren’t “absolutely necessary.”

“But they are, and the truth is we're going to have to make some tough choices in order to put this country back on a more sustainable fiscal path,” he said. “By reducing our deficit on the long term, what that allows us to do is to invest in the things that will help grow our economy right now. We can't cut back on those things that are important for us to grow. We can't just cut our way into growth.”

Obama said the country can cut back on things that it doesn’t need, but everyone has to pay their “fair share.”

Pentagon officials said the Defense Department is on path to save $259 billion over the next five years and $487 billion over the next 10. The Pentagon’s top-line budget request is $525 billion for fiscal 2013, with $88.4 billion more for overseas contingency operations, mostly in Afghanistan. This is down from $531 billion and $115 billion for fiscal 2012.

Obama called the budget request released today a “reflection of shared responsibility.”

“It says that if we're serious about investing in our future and investing in community colleges and investing in new energy technology and investing in basic research, well, we've got to pay for it, and that means we've got to make some choices,” he said.

“And if we work together in common purpose, we will build an economy that lasts, and remind people around the world why America is the greatest country on earth,” Obama said.

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