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FROM THIS EPISODE

The federal budget is more than a spending plan.  It's also a statement about priorities in an election year. We hear about President Obama's latest proposals and the likely debates about unemployment, the deficit and the role of government in an election year.  Also, changing military policy on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' and arms sales to Taiwan have China accusing the Obama Administration of trying to "undermine" relations.


Banner image: President Barack Obama (C) speaks about his budget for fiscal year 2011, while flanked by Christina Romer (L) Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (2L), White House budget director Peter Orszag (2R) and economic adviser Lawrence Summers at the White House on February 1, 2009 in Washington, DC. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Producers:
Sonya Geis
Christian Bordal
Gary Scott

Making News Is Pentagon Policy Changing on 'Don't Ask Don't Tell?' 7 MIN, 42 SEC

In last week's State of the Union address, President Obama reiterated his campaign promise to "finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are." Today, Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee he agrees that repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is "the right thing to do," but Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Pentagon needs a year to study how that might be accomplished. Julian Barnes is Pentagon reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Guests:
Julian Barnes, Wall Street Journal (@julianbarnes )

Reporter's Notebook US-China Relationship Is Strained 10 MIN, 24 SEC

China today repeated its protest of US arms sales to Taiwan, warning of "sanctions" against US companies that make the weapons involved. It also said the sales would "inevitably affect…cooperation on international and regional issues." What does that mean for sanctions against Iran? Will President Obama make things worse if he meets with the Dalai Lama? Nina Hachigian, author of The Next American Century, served on President Clinton's National Security Council and advised the Obama campaign on policy in Asia. She's now senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Guests:
Nina Hachigian, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Main Topic The Battle over the Budget in an Election Year 32 MIN, 30 SEC

When it comes to the economy, the President is pulling no punches. He's caught between the need to create more jobs while trying to reduce a crushing deficit. He claims Republicans caused the problem, and calls his $3.8 trillion budget a blueprint for avoiding disaster. Republicans call it just more taxes and increased spending. We talk with a top White House advisor and others about what it means for corporations, the wealthy and the middle class. Does the growing deficit threaten America's leadership role in the world? Would healthcare reform help get the country out from under water?

Guests:
Lori Montgomery, Washington Post (@loriamontgomery)
Rob Nabors, Deputy Director, Office of Management and Budget
Brian Riedl, Senior Federal Budget Analyst, Heritage Foundation
Maya MacGuineas, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (@MayaMacGuineas)

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