President Barack Obama has requested that formal negotiations to begin in May on reducing the long-term U.S. debt as a share of the economy and annual deficits.

Obama has asked Congressional leader to help assemble teams of negotiators to debate the fiscal proposals. Obama has proposed that Vice President Joe Biden and a total of 16 negotiators from the House and Senate chosen by majority and minority leaders from each side.

Obama, in a speech Wednesday at George Town University in Washington, set a goal of reducing the federal deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years or less, in contrast with a Republican Proposal which calls for $4.4 trillion in reductions in 10 years.

Obama is allowing for the possibility that the debt, as a share of the economy, will continue to increase until 2014.

Failing to do by that time would trigger spending reductions and a rise in taxes, Obama However that trigger would not include reduced spending for Social Security, low-income programs or Medicare benefits.

Specific Proposals

On Monday Obama proposed cutting $770 billion in non-security discretionary spending by 2023, or about $64.2 billion per year.

He also proposed to limit the growth of defense spending to levels below inflation, saying $400 billion by 2023, or about $33.3 billion per year.

Obama's proposal also would reduce the growth of health care spending by $340 billion by 2021, or $34 billion per year. Growth would be reduced by $180 billion in 2022 and 2023, or $90 billion per year.

The White House would also seek $360 billion in savings from other mandatory programs by 2023., or $30 billion from savings in agricultural subsidies, the federal pension insurance system, and anti-fraud measures.

Obama wants deficit reductions to come from a three dollars to one dollar ratio of spending cuts and interest savings to one dollar which comes through tax reform.

Obama also is opposing extension of Bush era tax breaks to those earning more than $250,000 per year.