(WASHINGTON) -- White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday explained that when the White House calls for a budget proposal that is “balanced” it is not actually calling for a balanced budget.
The White House has long called for a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction that would include both tax increases and spending cuts. Carney has often pointed out that President Obama put out a proposal last year that would include cuts to projected spending on both Social Security and Medicare as well as tax increases.
ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl asked Carney on Tuesday if the White House expects -- or hopes -- that the budget to be released Wednesday by Senate Democrats would include the entitlement cuts proposed by the president.
The exchange produced an unusual discussion of unbalanced balance and -- for the first time, the White House said the president’s upcoming budget will not be a balanced budget:
KARL: Do you expect — do you hope when the Senate Democrats release their budget tomorrow that it has entitlement reforms along the lines of what the president has proposed?
CARNEY: Well, I will wait for the budget to be put forward, and Senator Murray to do that. We do expect it to be balanced, that — to have the principle of balance inherent in its proposals. If it’s not — and I don’t expect it will be — in agreement on every item of the president’s proposal, it will be consistent with the president’s balanced approach, we expect. …
KARL: When we say balanced, you don’t mean balanced —
CARNEY: I mean a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes asking everyone to pay their share.
Q: But it will not be a balanced budget —
CARNEY: No, what the president’s budget proposal will do, as his previous proposals have done, is achieve the economically important goal of bringing our debt-to-GDP down below 3 percent.
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