The news releases began flying as Obama unveiled the long-awaited details of his $3.4 trillion spending plan, including a list of programs he wants to trim or eliminate. Though the proposed reductions represent just one-half of 1 percent of next year’s budget, the swift protest was a precursor of the battle Obama will face within his own party to control spending and rein in a budget deficit projected to exceed $1.2 trillion next year.
As small as it is, the list of reductions highlights Obama’s first effort to reshape priorities that were tilted heavily toward defense and national security under President George W. Bush. While the Pentagon would get a significant increase overall, more than half Obama’s projected savings — $8.8 billion — would come out of 14 defense programs, the most from any agency. And for the first time since 2003, the budget would devote more money to the war in Afghanistan than to the one in Iraq.