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Obama budget sets up election-year clash with Republicans

Copies of President Barack Obama’s proposed budget are set out for distribution by Senate Budget Committee Clerk Adam Kamp, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)By Jeff Mason, Mark Felsenthal and David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama proposed new tax credits and job-training programs for U.S. workers on Tuesday in a 2015 budget that drew instant condemnation from Republicans, who dismissed the document as an election-year campaign pitch. The proposal has almost no chance of passage in Congress, where Republicans control the House of Representatives, but it lays out Obama’s policy priorities ahead of November congressional elections. “Our budget is about choices, it’s about our values,” Obama told reporters during a visit to an elementary school. “At a time when our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years, we’ve got to decide if we’re going to keep squeezing the middle class or if we’re going to continue to reduce the deficits responsibly while taking steps to grow and strengthen the middle class.” While working within the overall cap of $1.014 trillion for discretionary spending that Congress set for 2015, the president proposed $56 billion in additional spending for education, welfare and defense programs, paid for in part by ending a tax break for wealthy retirees.

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