WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush’s 2007 budget proposes spending more than $2.7 trillion, showering big increases on defense and homeland security and a smattering of other favored programs such as scientific research, education and energy. At the same time, Bush’s blueprint being submitted to Congress today proposes shrinking or eliminating 141 programs while trimming $36 billion from Medicare over the next five years. The plan for the budget year that will begin Oct. 1 lays out a path to achieving two of the president’s chief domestic goals: making his first-term tax cuts permanent – they are set to expire after 2010 – and cutting the deficit in half by 2009, the year Bush will leave office. Details about the plan come from public statements, such as Bush’s State of the Union address last week, and interviews with officials familiar with the budget proposal who spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to pre-empt the president’s announcement today. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The budget’s arrival on Capitol Hill will set off months of intense debate, made even more contentious by congressional elections in November, when Democrats hope to wrest congressional control from the Republicans. While Congress is expected to reshape Bush’s proposals significantly, Republicans voiced support for the blueprint’s objectives. “The American people know that our government’s too big and it spends too much, and they expect Congress to do something about it,” newly elected House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H., said that the administration’s proposal to trim Medicare is a “toe in the water” in the effort to get the costs of programs like Social Security and Medicare under control before 78 million baby boomers begin to retire. “The big issue is entitlement reform, and the fact that they are proceeding in that direction is a good thing to hear,” he said. Democrats sought to portray Bush’s budget as an election-year campaign document rather than an honest effort to deal with exploding deficits. The budget proposal’s release comes only weeks before the national debt will hit the current limit of $8.18 trillion, requiring Congress to vote for an increase to keep the government operating. “This budget is just detached from reality,” Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, the top Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee, said in an interview Sunday. “The debt is exploding, and the president isn’t facing up to it.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Britain’s Andy Murray has his best chance of winning the French Open this year, according to American great John McEnroe. (Also Read: Djokovic, Serena face overtime as finals beckon)The second seed, who beat world number one Novak Djokovic to claim the Italian Open on clay in Rome last month, faces defending champion Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals at Roland Garros later on Friday.The 29-year-old Scot will be hoping to advance to the final for a first time after tasting semi-final defeat three times previously and with nine-times French Open champion Rafael Nadal out through injury, Murray’s chances have greatly improved.”Maybe Andy’s best chance to win the French ever could be this year,” said seven-times major winner McEnroe, who is working as a commentator in Paris.”I don’t know if he’s going to be able to keep this up, so to me he has got his best shot ever.”He has arguably been coming up against the three greatest guys who ever lived. So he has gotten a lot better and he can take pride in that. He can still add on a couple of majors.”I think he is doing everything he can. I don’t know him that well, certainly not enough to see his day-to-day. But Andy’s had an incredibly consistent record in the slams.”Murray has won eight of his 15 encounters against Switzerland’s Wawrinka.Serbia’s Djokovic, who like Murray has never won the French Open, takes on Austrian Dominic Thiem in the other semi-final on Friday.advertisement