Obama Seeks Compromise With Spending Plan

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will unveil a spending plan Wednesday that he hopes will provide a compromise to the two feuding parties on Capitol Hill, offering Republican-friendly proposals -- including those that cut Social Security and Medicare -- tied to tax increases on the wealthiest Americans.

White House officials say Obama is willing to offer a compromise to cut the deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years. Republicans say the actual number is $600 billion because the president wants to reverse across-the-board spending cuts that took effect in March.

"This is not the president's ideal budget proposal," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Friday. "It is a budget proposal that represents a good-faith compromise position."

Obama's budget probably won't change the dynamics of an increasingly polarized atmosphere, partly because it comes more than two months late, after both the Republican-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate passed plans for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. That kind of delay is unprecedented since the modern budgeting process was established nearly a century ago.

Republicans are unlikely to embrace a budget that raises taxes, though it was released on the day that Obama continued his sudden spurt of political outreach.

House Speaker John Boehner objected Friday to the tax increases, saying House Republicans have urged Obama "not to make savings we agree upon conditional on another round of tax increases."

Obama's budget will try to strike a balance between the House and Senate plans passed last month. Bob Bixby, head of the budget watchdog group the Concord Coalition, said Obama sees the budget as a chance to "signal to Republicans that he's open to a compromise."

The president has agreed to a more conservative measurement used in calculating cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security beneficiaries and others who receive government payment. That would switch the method of determining the cost-of-living adjustment to the Chain-Weighted Consumer Price Index, which is less generous than the current method.

Progressive groups and advocates for seniors said Friday that they strongly oppose a change that Carney admitted would raise taxes on the middle class.

"Social Security is too important to the economic security of the American people to be used as a bargaining chip," said Nancy Altman, founding co-director of Social Security Works, a coalition of state and national advocacy groups.