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Bush Proposes Record $3.1 Trillion Budget

Overall spending would increase 6.1%, with cuts in some domestic programs.

President George W. Bush on Monday unveiled a $3.1 trillion budget for fiscal 2009 that widens the government deficit with an economic stimulus and expenditures for the war in Iraq.

Bush's spending plan, sent to Congress for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, forecasts heavy deficits for the government -- $410 billion for the current year and $407 billion for the coming fiscal year. The budget, an outline of spending plans that must be approved by Congress, is the first to exceed $3 trillion.

Bush proposed $515.4 billion in defense spending for the upcoming year, up from $479.5 billion in fiscal 2008. The plan includes an additional $70 billion dedicated for the "global war on terror," mainly for ongoing fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bush also budgeted over the current and upcoming year $145 billion for the economic growth package the White House and Congress are working to pass to help revive flagging economic growth.

The document includes a five-year budget outline that would temporarily increase the deficit for 2008 and 2009 before paring it in subsequent years.

The president's 2009 budget proposes to boost near-term economic growth, restrain spending, and reform entitlements, leading to a balanced budget by 2012 and a more fiscally prudent path for the long term," according to the president's budget message. The deficit, which had fallen to 1.2% of U.S. economic output or GDP, would jump to 2.9 of GDP in 2008 and ease to 2.7% in 2009.

Overall spending would increase 6.1% in the Bush plan, but cuts would be made in a number of domestic programs, with lower allotments for health and human services, and labor and transportation, among others.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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