Washington observers welcomed the president's interest in cutting the federal deficit, but doubt immediate action is likely.
President Bush, in his State of the Union address Tuesday, vowed to propose a plan that would eliminate the federal government's budget deficit within five years. "Together, we can restrain the spending appetite of the federal government and we can balance the federal budget," he said.
But there's a healthy dose of skepticism that a Democrat-controlled Congress will embrace any particular initiatives advanced by the president on deficit reduction this year, said David Tittsworth, executive director of the Investment Adviser Association.
The president said details of his deficit-reduction plan would be included in the White House's fiscal 2008 budget, slated to be released Feb. 5.
Mr. Bush also urged lawmakers to work with his administration to ensure the continued viability of Social Security. James Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, said he was glad the president used the speech to keep the issue in the spotlight, but he doubts the prospect for a quick resolution.
"We're not likely to see action on that until after 2008, because it's too massive for it to happen in the current political environment," Mr. Klein said.
Said Mike Chittenden, a spokesman for the ERISA Industry Committee, Washington: "As expected, the proposals were too vague to form an opinion on. New information will be available when the president's budget is released."