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Obama releases his 2013 budget

Obama's 2013 budget, to be released on February 13, 2012, is the official start to an election-year budget battle over taxes and spending as the nation's debt tops $15 trillion. Obama's budget predicts a $1.3 trillion deficit in the ongoing budget year and a $901 billion deficit in 2013.

The president's plan is laden with stimulus-style initiatives, like sharp increases for highway construction, school modernization, and a new tax credit for businesses that add jobs. But it avoids sacrifice, with only minimal curbs on the unsustainable growth of Medicare even as it slaps a 10-year, $61 billion "financial crisis responsibility fee" on big banks to recoup the 2008 Wall Street bailout.

 The budget, administration officials say, borrows heavily from Obama's September submission to a congressional deficit "supercommittee" assigned to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings as part of last summer's budget-and-debt pact that avoided a first-ever U.S. default on its obligations. The panel was deadlocked and left Washington to grapple with bruising across-the-board spending cuts that kick in next January.

 Obama's plan predicts deficit savings of more than $4 trillion over a decade, mixing $1 trillion already banked through last summer's clampdown on agency operating budgets with $1.5 trillion in higher tax revenues reaped from an overhaul of the tax code. It also claims savings from reduced war costs and takes just a nip at federal health care programs even as it promises $476 billion for road and other surface transportation programs over six years, a significant increase.

 It's already received a chilly reception from Republicans who say Obama isn't doing enough to tame the deficit or curb the rapid growth of benefit programs like Medicare.

The budget will also call for a "Buffett Rule" named after billionaire Warren Buffett that would guarantee that households making more than $1 million a year pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes. 

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