Obama's Middle Class Tax Cut May Not Survive Budget

However, Senate Republicans plan to offer a series of amendments to the existing draft of the budget rather than a wholly alternative budget.

Pushing the Budget

Vice President Joe Biden set the stage for Obama's presence at the Senate Democratic Caucus luncheon this afternoon with a lunch meeting of his own with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Both expressed words of optimism, with Biden saying he expects the budget to be consistent with what the White House has asked for.

"I know at the end of the day, we will have a strong budget supportive of the president's principles," Pelosi said.

Obama also had Orszag begin a public effort to downplay differences between the president's budget and one being fashioned by Democratic leaders who are increasingly worried about the growing deficits.

Obama argued during Tuesday's news conference that he would cut the deficit in half in the next five years. But his plans for massive federal spending to bail out the economy along with his intention to take on such hefty projects like energy and health-care reform have left many on the Hill skeptical about what it will do to the country's budgets in the coming years.

Democratic allies in the House and Senate are busy rewriting Obama's proposed budget and the president hopes a personal appeal can save much of his blueprint.

In a conference call with reporters, Orszag depicted the differences between the White House budget and congressional versions as minor.

"I think it's very clear that if you look at the budget resolutions that are being adopted by both the House and Senate, they are from the same family as the president's budget. The resolutions may not be identical twins to what the president submitted, but they are certainly brothers that look an awful lot alike," Orszag said.

After taking questions from reporters about his budget and other economic plans for nearly an hour in front of a national audience Tuesday night, the president likely found more directly consequential audience today among House and Senate Democrats.

In the second press conference of his young presidency, Obama conveyed one singular message: Times are tough, but the good times will return.

He made the case that his budget is the best way to reduce the deficit and expand economic growth "by moving from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest."

Key Pillars to Obama Budget

Even Senate Democrats Tuesday were talking about abandoning the president's hopes for an energy cap-and-trade system, which would exact a fine on polluters, and on extending his middle-class tax cut. But when asked by ABC News whether he would sign off on a budget if some of these key provisions he campaigned on were stripped out by Senate Democrats, the president was noncommittal.

"I've emphasized repeatedly what I expect out of this budget. I expect that there's serious efforts at health-care reform and that we are driving down costs for families and businesses, and ultimately for the federal and state governments that are going to be broke if we continue on the current path," the president said. "I haven't seen yet what provisions are in there. The bottom line is ... that I want to see health care, energy, education and serious efforts to reduce our budget deficit."

The four key pillars contained in his budget proposal are health care, energy reform, education and deficit reduction.

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