Obama to promote budget in news conference

Copies of the fiscal 2012 federal budget's Appendix are seen at the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

February 15, 2011 6:54:31 AM PST
Seeking to command the debate over his newly announced budget, President Barack Obama will hold a news conference at the White House Tuesday.

The hastily announced question and answer session comes a day after Obama unveiled his $3.73 trillion budget for 2012, which would freeze or reduce some safety-net programs for the nation's poor, but increase spending for schools, clean energy and airport sectors. Republicans, eager to please their conservative tea party supporters, are demanding deeper cuts, and a budget that would shrink the size of government to where it was before Obama took office.

The president was expected to make the case for his budget plan in opening remarks before taking questions from reporters. Tuesday's news conference will be Obama's first of the year, and the first full-scale question and answer session he's held in two months.

The fiscal blueprint Obama announced Monday mixes tax increases on the wealthy and some businesses, a five-year freeze on most domestic programs, and boosts for elementary schools, clean energy and airport security.

Following his party's sweeping defeats in the November elections, Obama pledged to refocus his agenda on the economy and creating jobs. He used last month's State of the Union address to lay out an agenda that he said would spur job growth in the short-term and increase U.S. competitiveness in the future.

But the president's domestic agenda has been overshadowed in recent weeks by events in Egypt, where protesters forced the resignation of longtime President Hosni Mubarak. Obama is likely to face questions on the situation there, as the U.S. has pledged to offer support, including financial backing, to Egypt as it works toward holding democratic elections.