On Monday, Obama appeared ready for a showdown with Republicans, vowing to veto any bill that cuts entitlement programs without also including revenue increases. "We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable," he said.
The president's deficit proposal now goes to the congressional "super committee," a group of six Democrats and six Republicans charged with cutting at least $1.5 trillion from federal deficits over the next 10 years. If the committee fails to come up with a proposal to send to Congress by Nov. 23, it will trigger automatic cuts to take effect in 2013, split between military and nonmilitary spending.
Now that Obama has released his deficit proposal, he will quickly return to pushing the legislation that addresses the deepest of voter concerns: jobs. Obama's reelection hinges more on the unemployment rate, currently at 9.1% nationally, than it does on debt levels.
Even as he unveiled his much-anticipated deficit reduction proposal, the president worked in a plug for his $447-billion jobs package, intended to boost hiring through a mix of federal spending to rebuild roads, bridges and schools; tax cuts for employers and consumers; and tax increases on the affluent.
"I'm ready to sign a bill," he said. "I've got the pens all ready."
Noam N. Levey in the Washington bureau contributed to this report.