“It’s a complete political document,” Ryan told POLITICO later. “We face a totally predictable debt crisis, and this is the fourth year in a row that the president has ducked it. I honestly thought he would triangulate after the 2010 elections, but he’s moved left.”

Lew, who had a major hand in writing the new budget before moving to his new post in the West Wing, answered that Republicans like Ryan have only themselves to blame for refusing any compromise last year that involved serious revenues. Deficits remain a major concern and must be addressed in the long term, Lew said. But the president is right, he argued, to put a greater priority now on fostering a still fragile recovery.

“The time for austerity is not today,” Lew told NBC News “Meet the Press.” “If we were to put in austerity measures right now, it would take the economy in the wrong way.”…

The Pentagon’s core budget, $514.2 billion, would drop for the first time since the ’90s. At the same time, total resources for the State Department and foreign aid would continue to grow to $51.6 billion including a new $770 million Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund to advance democratic and economic reforms after the turmoil of the past year.