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White House: midsession budget review out this week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday that its midsession review of President Barack Obama's fiscal 2012 budget proposal would be released later this week, but an exact date had not yet been set.

The White House had announced in June that it would delay release of its updated economic and budget projections beyond a July 16 deadline, in part because lawmakers took until the middle of the year to agree a budget for fiscal 2011.

The White House's midsession review includes revised estimates of the budget deficit, growth and unemployment.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its own midsession review on Wednesday, predicting the deficit and debt as a share of GDP would fall over the next 10 years, provided a range of tax breaks were allowed to expire.

It also forecast unemployment would remain stuck above 8 percent and growth would be tepid through the 2012 elections, as the country struggles to recover from the deepest recession since the 1930s. unemployment was 9.1 percent in July.

The budget has been a political punch bag all year -- Republicans are determined to cut spending while Obama's Democrats push to preserve programs for poorer Americans and urge reforms to increase revenue from taxes.

Congress must take steps before late-December to lower the U.S. deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years, as part of a deal earlier this month between Republicans and Democrats to lift the debt ceiling and avoid default.

Obama wants lawmakers to go further and seek measures that lower the deficit by more than $1.5 trillion over the long term, in order to create space in the budget to spend more to boost growth and hiring in the short term.

(Reporting by Alister Bull; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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