US President Barack Obama at the White House on MondayPresident Barack Obama will preview the proposal for congressional leaders at the White House
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US President Barack Obama is to outline his budget deficit-reduction plan in a speech today, in an effort to draw a contrast with Republican proposals.

He will propose to reduce spending on healthcare programmes for the poor and elderly and on defence, and to raise taxes on the wealthy, aides have said.

Republicans are certain to reject Mr Obama’s tax increase proposals and call for deeper spending cuts, analysts say.

The contrasting ideas are expected to play heavily in the 2012 campaign.

The US government budget deficit is expected to reach $1.4 trillion (£860m) this year, and both Democrats and Republicans say curbing spending should be a top priority.

Buoyed by the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement, Republicans have won a series of policy victories, including forcing $38.5bn (£23.6bn) in government spending cuts for the remainder of the current fiscal year.

Mr Obama hopes to retake momentum from Republicans on the issue as the 2012 presidential campaign warms up, analysts say.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Obama is expected to preview his proposal before a bipartisan gathering of congressional leaders at the White House, and later, he is to make a speech at George Washington University in Washington DC.

In a pre-emptive attack on Tuesday morning, Republican House Speaker John Boehner called any proposal to raise taxes “a non-starter”.

Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, the powerful chairman of the House of Representatives budget committee, has outlined a 2012 plan that would slash $6.2 trillion from government spending over the next decade, in large part through cuts to government programmes that serve the elderly and the poor, analysts say.

His plan would also drastically reduce taxes for wealthy Americans, analysts say.

The House is due to vote on Mr Ryan’s proposal on Friday.

US political analysts expect the fight over the government budget for the fiscal year beginning 1 October to be bruising, as Republicans and Democrats push their competing visions.

Last week, the US government came within an hour of shutting down as Republican and Democratic leaders battled to reach an agreement on a budget deal for the next six months.

The agreement reached just before midnight on Friday cut $38.5bn from the budget to 30 September.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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