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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama sent Congress a $3.8 trillion spending blueprint on Wednesday that strives to achieve a "grand bargain" to tame runaway deficits, raising taxes on the wealthy and trimming popular benefit programs including Social Security and Medicare.
The president's budget projects deficit reductions of $1.8 trillion over the next decade, achieved with higher taxes, reductions in payments to Medicare providers and cutbacks in the cost-of-living adjustments paid to millions of recipients in Social Security and other government programs.
The budget would also nearly double the federal tax on cigarettes to $1.95 per pack. That money would fund a new pre-school program for 4-year-olds.
The president's proposed spending for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, would rise 2.5 percent from this year.
The budget projects a deficit for the current year of $973 billion, falling to $744 billion in 2014. Those would be the first deficits below $1 trillion since 2008. Even with the president's deficit reductions, the budget projects the red ink would total $5.3 trillion over the next 10 years.
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