Orszag, Geithner Begin Budget Sales Pitch

Posted February 2, 2010 at 9:54am

Updated: 11:05 a.m.

The White House is dispatching its top economic advisers to Capitol Hill this week for a marathon series of hearings aimed at selling the president’s $3.8 trillion budget request to a divided Congress.

Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag will spend Tuesday morning testifying to the Senate Budget Committee and then head to the House Budget Committee in the afternoon. He will return Wednesday afternoon for a House Ways and Means hearing, and on Thursday he is set to testify before the Senate Finance Committee.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will appear before Finance on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, he will return to testify before Ways and Means.

Their sales pitch comes as both parties are already grumbling about key aspects of President Barack Obama’s budget request. Liberals are balking at Obama’s call for a three-year nonmilitary discretionary spending freeze alongside an increase in war spending. Republicans, meanwhile, are ripping the blueprint for assuming that the national debt will rise another $9 trillion over the coming decade.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen will also be on the Hill pitching the president’s Defense budget. Both are testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday morning, and both will return Wednesday to testify before the House Armed Services Committee.