Budget director warns of 'tough choices': 'It’s not possible to do this painlessly'

The Obama administration’s budget director said Sunday that President Obama’s upcoming budget request will show that “we have to start living within our means.”

Jacob Lew, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the administration’s budget request, which President Obama will send to Congress Monday, will save $1.1 trillion in domestic spending during the next 10 years.

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“What [the budget] says is that we really do what every American family does: we have to start living within our means,” Lew said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Lew outlined a series of targeted cuts including $125 million from a fund to restore the Great Lakes. He also said graduate student loans would accrue interest while students are in school. As it stands now, interest doesn’t start accruing until after a graduate student completes his or her program.


Lew stressed that while interest will accrue while a student attends graduate school, the student will not have to pay that interest until he or she graduates. “Interest will build up, but students won’t have to pay until they graduate,” Lew said. “It will not reduce access to education.”

“It’s not possible to do this painlessly,” Lew said. “We made some tough choices.”

Asked about a plan by House Republicans to cut $100 billion from the president’s 2011 budget request in a government spending bill that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, Lew demurred.

“We look forward to working with the Congress on that,” he said.