Graham encouraged by Obama budget

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President Obama's upcoming budget blueprint contains encouraging elements and could help set the stage for a grand bipartisan deficit-reduction deal, a top Senate Republican said Sunday.

"There are nuggets of his budget that I think are optimistic," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) said on NBC's Meet the Press.


"It's overall a bad plan for the economy, but  . . . we're beginning to set the stage for the grand bargain," he added.

On Saturday, Obama admitted his pending budget proposal was not "my ideal plan to further reduce the deficit, it’s a compromise I’m willing to accept."

The administration's spending proposal will represent a "balanced approach" between nearly $2 trillion in deficit-reduction measures coupled with "critical investments" to accelerate job growth among the middle class, the president said in his weekly address.

The president’s plan, which was previewed last week, will be unveiled on April 10.

The initial blueprint, though, attracted criticism from both the left and the right, with Democrats fearing the president would cut entitlement benefits and criticizing a plan to adopt chained CPI. Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Obama was holding needed entitlement reform “hostage” to further tax increases.

Graham on Sunday commended the White House for taking "a step forward" on entitlement reform "that would allow a guy like me to begin talking about . . . generating more revenue."

But he cautioned that the Obama budget "is not going to make it" if the White House cannot come closer to GOP demands on entitlement reform.

"The president's showing a little bit of leg here,” the South Carolina Republican said.

"This is somewhat encouraging, [but] his overall budget's not going to make it," Graham added.