President Obama is sending Congress a nearly three-point-eight-trillion-dollar budget blueprint for the 2014 fiscal year.  Obama called it a fiscally responsible plan that aims to reignite middle class prosperity.  The plan calls for a half-billion dollars in tax hikes, achieved primarily by closing loopholes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.  The proposal would hike taxes on cigarettes by nearly one-dollar a pack.  Tens of billions of dollars of proceeds would pay for an early childhood education program.  

President Obama argued that federal deficits are falling and said more can be done in a "balanced, sensible way."  Some Democrats are angry that the President's budget plan includes reductions in future spending on Social Security and Medicare.  That would include changing the cost-of-living calculation for Social Security recipients.  White House spokesman Jay Carney said the budget represents "tough choices."  

The President's budget submission to Congress comes more than two months later than required.  Carney has blamed the delay on protracted battles with congressional Republicans over taxes, spending and debt.  Meantime, the Republican-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate have both approved vastly different budget blueprints for 2014.  The GOP House plan aims to balance the federal budget in ten years.