Obama's Budget Chief: Congress Will Be Hard Sell

Monday, 14 Feb 2011 07:56 PM

By Hiram Reisner

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Budget Director Jacob Lew says the Obama administration is under no “illusion that Congress is just going to sign on the bottom line,” adding the budget is just the beginning of a long process, which needs to be addressed on a bipartisan basis.

“It’s important that this year, that we do begin the process with a comprehensive plan, which … would take on the real challenge that we face, which is to prove that we can live within our means, that we can cut spending, that we can also find the means to invest in the things we need to have a strong future – to invest in education, infrastructure, and innovation” Lew said Monday on MSNBC.

jacob,lew,budget,obama,congressLew conceded to “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, “We do have tough cuts that we have to make, in order to achieve the deficit reduction and to make room for the new investments,” adding that the administration and Congress will have to work together. “We don’t have any illusion that Congress is just going to sign on the bottom line, but we do think that it is an important budget that, on its own, stands up to the test of rigorous analysis.”

Matthews asked Lew if he thought the budget is the “best we can do” to put people back to work.

“This budget takes both the view towards the immediate needs, but also a little bit over the horizon,” Lew said. “There are things in this budget – for example, the accelerated pace at which the infrastructure program would begin, the first year with $15 billion in spending – that have immediate impact on job creation.

“But the president is taking the longer view,” he said, adding that was why the president Monday touted his budget at a Maryland school. “The future requires that we teach our kids the skills that they need to do the work that will keep America competitive.”

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