WASHINGTON, Feb 28 – US President Barack Obama vowed on Saturday to fight for his budget proposals that include new investments in clean energy, healthcare and education, but predicted his plan would face resistance from entrenched special interests.
"I didn\’t come here to do the same thing we\’ve been doing or to take small steps forward, I came to provide the sweeping change that this country demanded when it went to the polls in November," Obama said in his weekly radio address.
"That is the change this budget starts to make, and that is the change I\’ll be fighting for in the weeks ahead."
The audacious 3.55-trillion-dollar budget proposal that Obama rolled out on Thursday bristles with economic reforms and spending on healthcare and climate change.
The plan includes more than 600 billion dollars over 10 years for a "down payment" on healthcare reform and a similar annual sum for defense, and encompasses Obama\’s drive to end the worst economic crisis since the 1930s.
Obama is to fulfil a campaign pledge to raise taxes on Americans earning more than 250,000 dollars a year from 35 percent to just under 40 percent, yielding some two trillion dollars over ten years.
The budget forecasts a 1.750 trillion dollar deficit in fiscal 2009, but foresees that figure falling to 1.171 trillion dollars in 2010.
The president said Saturday that because his blueprint represented "real and dramatic change," it also presented a threat to the status quo in Washington.
He predicted that the insurance industry would not like the idea of competitive bidding for Medicare coverage for the seniors, while banks and big student lenders would be upset by an end to their subsidies.
The budget also calls for eliminating nearly 30 billion dollars in tax breaks for oil and gas companies, but Obama said the extra revenue will help fund a renewable energy economy and create jobs.
"In other words, I know these steps won\’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they\’re gearing up for a fight as we speak," the president argued. "My message to them is this: So am I."