WASHINGTON (AP) - Calling for fiscal restraint even while
federal spending soars, President Barack Obama summoned allies,
adversaries and outside experts to a White House summit Monday to
address skyrocketing budget deficits and announced $15 billion in
Medicaid money to states from his $787 billion economic stimulus
"As we take the steps that we must to get through the crisis
we're in now, we will not lose sight of the long-term," Vice
President Joe Biden said as he opened the event. Obama's No. 2
promised that the administration would be frank with the public
about budget challenges, though he also said there was a need to
reform the nation's health care system and wean the United States
off heavy reliance on foreign oil.
The summit came one week after the president signed into law the
gargantuan stimulus measure designed to stop the country's economic
free fall and, ultimately, reverse the recession now months into
its second year. The new law is certain to add to this fiscal
year's deficit, which the administration projects will be $1.5
Obama led the summit to address the nation's future financial
health after meeting with Republican and Democratic governors who
are poised to benefit from his unprecedented emergency
spending-and-tax cut measure.
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