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    Perennial ideas in Obama budget likely to go nowhere

    President Obama’s budget comes out on Wednesday.
    Spencer Platt/Getty Images
    President Obama’s budget comes out on Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON — Even as it adds fuel to battles over taxes and Social Security, President Obama’s budget will reprise lots of smaller bore proposals that have gone nowhere in a gridlocked Washington.

    Ideas like higher Transportation Security Administration fees on airline tickets, the end of Saturday mail delivery, and higher pension contributions for federal workers are the hardy perennials of Obama’s budgets, reprised year after year, along with more widely known proposals like taxing oil companies and the rich.

    Many of the ideas have been seen as candidates for inclusion in broader deficit deals that have never come to pass.


    Obama proposes some $200 billion in savings outside of health care costs, including a new fee on telecommunications companies and other users of federally licensed communications spectrum and billions of dollars claimed by selling off excess federal properties.

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    They are part of his most recent, spurned budget offer to House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, in December and will be reprised when Obama’s budget comes out on Wednesday.

    Efforts for a ‘‘grand bargain’’ on the budget between Obama and Congress have proven elusive, however, and stand-alone attempts to advance the proposals — including cutting farm subsidies and overhauling the Postal Service — have bogged down as well.

    At issue are dozens of longstanding options to trim the federal budget.

    They include eliminating direct payments to US farmers even if they don’t produce a crop and curbing $30 billion worth of Medicare payments over a decade to hospitals to reimburse them for patients who don’t pay deductibles and copayments.


    The only hope for many such proposals is that they get wrapped together as part of a bigger budget deal that’s sold to wary lawmakers as shared sacrifice.

    The dozens of often small-bore proposals in Obama’s budget are being overshadowed by more controversial ideas like reducing the cost-of-living increases for Social Security beneficiaries or renewed calls to increase taxes, like a proposal to cap deductions at a 28-percent rate instead of the top rate of 39.6 percent.