President Barack Obama asked Congress on Thursday to toss out sweeping budget cuts agreed upon four years ago and called for a surge in government spending. Speaking to House Democrats in Philadelphia, where they gathered for their annual retreat, Obama proposed $74 billion in additional spending, splitting it evenly between defense programs and domestic issues. “We need to stand up and go on offensive and not be defensive about what we believe in,” Obama said. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president’s spending proposal would be “fully paid for” by closing tax loopholes, cutting inefficient programs, and a few other tax tweaks. Earnest said those tweaks would not only pay for increased spending but also counter middle-class tax cuts Obama wants to create or expand. Republicans have promised a balanced-budget blueprint this spring, and are focused primarily on reversing restrictions on military spending. Obama and Democrats are looking to spend more domestic money on education, research, health care, and infrastructure, but GOP lawmakers argue that spending in so many more areas would reverse the reductions in the annual deficit.