Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580
The Cabinet Room
10:48 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate my Cabinet joining me today as we discussed our budget. Today we submit a budget to the United States Congress that shows we can balance the budget in five years without raising taxes.
Our economy is strong because of good policy and because the entrepreneurial spirit is strong. By keeping taxes down, we actually generate strong revenues to the Treasury.
And I appreciate Director Portman helping us devise a plan that sets priorities and, at the same time, emphasizes fiscal restraint. Our priority is to protect the American people. And our priority is to make sure our troops have what it takes to do their jobs. We also have got priorities in national parks and education and health care. But we have proven, and I strongly believe Congress needs to listen to a budget which has no tax increase, and a budget, because of fiscal discipline, that can be balanced in five years.
Secondly, I strongly believe that Congress needs to do something on earmarks. In order to make sure that we're fiscally responsible with the people's money, Congress needs to make sure that when they spend the people's money, there's transparency and an up or down vote for each item. As well, I believe the President needs to have the line-item veto. It's one thing to get the size of the budget pie right; it's another thing to make sure that the slices in that pie meet national priorities.
And so the budget that Director Portman is going to be talking about is realistic, it's achievable, and it's got good reforms in it. So thank you very much. Looking forward to working with the Congress to get this budget passed.
I'll answer a couple of questions. Ben.
Q Mr. President, thank you. You oppose setting time lines for withdrawal in
THE PRESIDENT: Ben, we've had years of projections in the past. We've said to the Congress, here's what our anticipated expenditure is in the short-term. And we've been able to manage our budgets with five years of war behind us, and we'll manage the budgets in the out-years. There will be no timetable set. And the reason why is, is because we don't want to send mixed signals to an enemy, or to a struggling democracy, or to our troops.
Q Mr. President, how do you respond to some criticism from the Iraqis that the reason for the recent escalation of violence in
THE PRESIDENT: Well, General Petraeus is heading to
I appreciate the fact that the Iraqi government is anxious to get security inside the capital of the country. That's a good sign. It's a good sign that there's a sense of concern and anxiety. It means that the governments understands they have a responsibility to protect their people. And we want to help them.
What we're trying to do with this reinforcement of our troops is to provide enough space so that the Iraqi government can meet certain benchmarks or certain requirements for a unity government to survive and for the country to be strong.
I had to make a decision as to whether or not we were going to allow the status quo to continue. And the status quo wasn't acceptable. I listened to a lot of people in Congress as to whether or not we ought to slowly withdraw and redeploy troops. My worry about that was that the capital would get worse, and out of that chaos would come grave danger to the
And that's why I made the decision I made, and we're in the process of implementing that plan. We'd like to do it as quickly as possible. The success of that plan is going to depend upon the capacity and willingness of the Iraqis to do hard work, and we want to help them do that work. And the fact that government officials are now saying that it's time to start implementing the plan is a good sign. It shows that they understand that now is the time to do the things necessary to protect their people.
END 10:53 A.M. EST