In his speech at George Washington University, President Obama will outline a series of steps to promote fiscal discipline and curb the growth of the nation’s national debt. The president’s speech is a response to the Republican plan proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and will call for a bipartisan effort to tackle deficit spending. Obama will propose a combination of tax increases on the wealthy, a reduction in the cost of Medicaid and Medicare and cuts to defense spending and will provide a stark contrast to Congressman Ryan’s budget proposal. The Ryan budget arrives at $6 trillion in cuts by making much deeper reductions in spending on Medicare and Medicaid, something the Democrats maintain is unacceptably harmful to poor people and the elderly. Looming ahead is the vote to raise the debt ceiling but if Obama’s budget plan doesn’t satisfy deficit hawks, will Republican leaders be able to get the votes needed? How will the cuts proposed in Obama’s speech affect Medicare and Medicaid recipients?
Jonathan Wilcox, Republican Strategist; former speech writer for Governor Pete Wilson
David Menefee-Libey, professor of politics, Pomona College
Brian Bilbray, Republican Congressman representing California’s 50th District (Encinitas, Escondido)
Brad Sherman, Democratic Congressman representing California’s 27th District (San Fernando Valley)