WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama warned congressional Republicans Monday that he won't accept a spending plan that boosts national security at the expense of domestic programs for the middle class. He also called on them not to saddle legislation that pays for homeland security operations with contentious provisions on immigration.
"I will not accept a budget that severs the vital links between our national security and our economic security," Obama said. "Those two things go hand in hand."
Obama addressed the budget he released Monday and the financing of the Homeland Security Department during a visit to the department's headquarters.
Obama is proposing higher taxes on wealthier Americans and corporations, and an ambitious $478 billion public works program for highway, bridge and transit upgrades. He also wants a 7 per cent increase in defence and domestic spending that restores some automatic cuts triggered by a 2011 budget deal.
Obama called those cuts as "mindless austerity."
The president also said every American has an interest in making sure that the Homeland Security Department has what it needs to achieve its mission. He wants Congress to pass a funding bill for the department without rolling back his executive actions on immigration.
"The men and women of America's homeland security apparatus do important work to protect us, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress should not be playing politics with them," Obama said.