Obama’s Budget Heads To Congress [VIDEO]
President Barack Obama is proposing an increase in taxes on wealthy individuals and some corporations, putting him at odds with all the Republican presidential hopefuls.
The budget also sets the stage for an ideological battle that won’t be resolved until after the November election — if then.
- INTERACTIVE: The Federal Budget
Obama’s proposal released Monday calls for a tax reform package that would increase revenue by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Obama says he wants to simplify the tax code, lowering marginal tax rates while eliminating or reducing tax breaks enjoyed by wealthy individuals and U.S.-based multinational corporations.
Obama’s GOP rivals, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have proposed tax plans that independent experts say would result in lower taxes for corporations and the wealthy.
Obama promotes job training at NORTHERN VIRGINIA community college
Obama is calling on Congress to create an $8 billion fund to help connect community college students with businesses looking to hire workers for high-growth industries.
Obama says the fund could train 2 million workers in sectors like health care, transportation and advanced manufacturing. The fund is part of the new budget Obama released on Monday.
Even as the U.S. struggles to emerge from the economic downturn, some high-tech industries have a shortage of workers. And it is anticipated there will be 2 million job openings in manufacturing nationally through 2018.
As he promoted the community college fund and other proposals in his budget, Obama urged Congress not to stand in the way of “America’s comeback.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
An agency-by-agency guide to Obama’s budget
President Barack Obama proposed a $3.8 trillion budget on Monday for fiscal 2013 that aims to slash the
deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years but still envisions growth in the government’s major health benefit programs.
Here is the agency-by-agency breakdown:
Spending: $9.2 billion
Percentage Change from 2012: 15.6 percent increase
Discretionary Spending: $8 billion
Highlights: Obama’s proposed budget for the department would
provide $708 million for the National Institute of Standards and
Technology laboratories with the goal of making U.S. manufacturers
more competitive. The president also is calling for spending $517
million on the International Trade Administration to promote U.S.
exports in key markets abroad and to improve trade enforcement.
Obama’s budget blueprint calls for more than $5 billion for the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an increase of
about $160 million.
The administration would increase funds for the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office to accelerate patent processing and improve patent
Obama also wants $10 billion to help build an interoperable
public safety broadband network. Those costs would be offset by
auctioning spectrum used to expand wireless broadband access and
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Spending: $8.1 billion
Percentage Change from 2012: 2.1 percent decrease
Discretionary Spending: $8.3 billion
Highlights: Perhaps anticipating resistance from congressional
Republicans, who are looking to target the Environmental Protection
Agency’s budget, Obama has proposed a $175 million cut to the
nation’s environmental protector. It’s the third consecutive year
that the Democratic president has called for trimming the agency’s
To achieve those savings, the EPA’s proposed budget reduces
cleanup money for the nation’s most hazardous waste sites, leaving
enough to deal with emergency releases. It also would eliminate
what it calls redundant grant programs to states and tribes to help
reduce indoor radon exposure and monitor beaches to ensure they’re
safe enough for swimming.
To help states meet a host of new air pollution regulations
finalized and in the works at EPA, the budget includes a $66
million increase for air quality programs. But it cuts money to
states to improve infrastructure and treatment plants for drinking
Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, a top Republican on the House
Energy and Commerce Committee, told reporters last week that the
GOP would be taking a hard look at the agency’s assistance to
states. But many of them are struggling financially and have made
their own cuts to environmental programs, reducing monitoring,
inspections and enforcement in communities and neighborhoods.
The budget includes $5 million for the EPA to increase the
number and frequency of inspections at high-risk oil and chemical
Obama reiterated his commitment to reduce the gases blamed for
global warming, and says the agency will continue to pursue ways to
control greenhouse gas-pollution from power plants, factories and
refineries, despite opposition from Republicans and some industry
Agency: Housing and Urban Development
Spending: $44 billion
Percentage Change from 2012: 21.3 percent decrease
Discretionary Spending: $35.3 billion
Highlights: Obama’s proposed budget would provide $2.3 billion
for the administration’s goal to end chronic homelessness. HUD’s
programs serve primarily the poor, elderly and disabled.
The blueprint also seeks $34.8 billion to preserve rental
housing assistance to 4.7 million low-income families and $154
million to expand affordable housing to seniors and persons with
disabilities. Obama is also asking for $650 million for housing for
Native American tribes.
Obama’s proposal would keep funding for the Community
Development Block Grant program at 2012 levels. States and cities
use the money to build streets and sidewalks, provide water and
build sewers and make other infrastructure improvements in
low-income neighborhoods. Local officials struggling to balance
budgets support the program.
Spending: $30 billion
Percentage Change from 2012: 15.3 percent decrease
Discretionary Spending: $17.9 billion
Highlights: Obama wants to spend more than $700 million to
investigate and prosecute financial crimes that take place from
Wall Street to Main Street, an increase of $55 million over the
current budget. The extra money would pay for additional FBI
agents, prosecutors, civil attorneys and accountants. The types of
misconduct the law enforcement money would target include
securities and commodities fraud, investment scams like the
infamous Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff, mortgage foreclosure
schemes and fraud against economic recovery programs.
The administration is proposing to spend nearly $40 million to
combat intellectual property theft, an increase of $5 million from
the current budget. Criminals using the Internet have cashed in on
the explosion in online commerce by trafficking in counterfeit
goods and copyrighted products. The Obama administration has worked
with law enforcement officials from more than 30 countries to round
up criminals running the illicit networks.
The Justice Department is proposing to spend $12.444 billion on
its four key law enforcement components, $38 million less than the
current spending level. The four agencies are the FBI, the Drug
Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service. Since 2001,
the year of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Justice
Department’s law enforcement components have grown by 106 percent.
The administration says it is encouraged by the downward trend in
violent crime rates and that the Justice Department has identified
$138 million in savings that will be carried out by consolidating
or eliminating some offices.
Spending: $89 billion
Percentage Change from 2012: 35.7 percent decrease
Discretionary Spending: $12 billion
Highlights: Most of the cuts at Labor would come from an
expected decrease in spending on unemployment insurance programs as
the overall unemployment rate declines and fewer people claim
But those projections also assume there will be no further
spending on long-term unemployment benefits beyond Feb. 29. That’s
when a temporary extension of benefits that Congress enacted late
last year will expire. House and Senate negotiators are working on
a deal that would extend those benefits past the end of the month
as part of broader discussions on extending the payroll tax cut.
The deal is likely to reduce the maximum number of 99 weeks that
unemployed people are allowed to seek benefits.
Like last year’s plan, the budget would trim $450 million from
Labor’s share of a program that helps train older workers for jobs
and community service programs. The program would be transferred to
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The agency also is expected to save about $245 million from a
reduced work load in processing unemployment benefit claims.
The budget would increase spending on wage enforcement and
workplace safety programs, including $10 million to crack down on
companies that cheat workers out of minimum wage and overtime
payments. It would also boost a program that identifies workers
misclassified as independent contractors.
Another $15 million increase would go to programs that offer
employment and training services to help the long-term unemployed
return to the work force.
The department is requesting an additional $17 million to help
reduce the backlog of mine safety cases.
Spending: $17.7 billion
Percentage Change from 2012: 0.3 percent decrease.
Discretionary Spending: $17.7 billion
Highlights: Obama’s proposed space agency budget entails a large
shift within NASA for how the same amount of money is essentially
spent. The biggest loser is the planet Mars, along with exploring
the rest of the planets in our solar system. The president proposed
cutting $309 million for studying planets this year, with more cuts
in future years. After an already mostly built Mars mission in
2013, future journeys to the red planet are eliminated, put on hold
or restructured. While the study of planets would be sliced 21
percent, spending for the overall budget and long delayed James
Webb Space Telescope would increase 21 percent. The telescope which
may cost $8 billion is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope
and would peer further into the universe and back in time than
The president wants to double the amount of money spent to help
private firms develop their own spaceships that could eventually
carry astronauts and others to the International Space Station as
taxis. This would replace the now retired space shuttle program and
the dependence on Russia for rides into orbit. The president wants
to spend $829.7 million to help these companies, but Congress has
regularly cut his commercial space proposals. The budget includes
the last bit of spending on the retired space shuttles: $71
Much of the spending continues a trend shifting from current
space missions to developing the next generation of rockets and
capsules for flights out of Earth’s orbit to an asteroid or even to
Mars. The president proposes an extra $345 million in spending on
developing new rocketry and space technology. That overall proposal
includes $1.8 billion for a congressionally mandated large rocket
that could carry bigger loads further into space and $1 billion for
the Orion crew capsule to take astronauts to new places. A first
test flight of the spaceships — without astronauts — could be as
early as 2017, with astronauts flying in them no earlier than 2021.
Spending: $69 billion
Percentage Change from 2012: 13.8 percent increase
Discretionary Spending: $54.3 billion
Highlights: Obama’s proposed budget for the State Department and
U.S. foreign assistance calls for spending $11.8 billion for
civilian operations and aid in Iraq ($4.8 billion), Afghanistan
($4.6 billion) and Pakistan ($2.4 billion). It retains major
military aid programs to Israel, which will get $3.1 billion;
Egypt, which is slated for $1.3 billion, and Jordan, which is to
get $300 million.
The spending plan sets aside $770 million for the creation of a
new Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund to promote
democracy, good governance and free market economies in Arab
nations roiled by revolt. It allocates $2.7 billion in economic
assistance to support transitions in other parts of the developing
world, including the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, Liberia,
Haiti and Myanmar.
The proposal maintains billions of dollars in spending on
international health projects, including the President’s Emergency
Plan for AIDS Relief, which will cost $5.4 billion and expects to
have treated six million people, many in Africa, by the end of
On the savings side, the budget pares aid to eastern European
and Eurasian countries by 18 percent, cuts back on a planned
expansion of State Department personnel and reduces an ambitious
overseas construction program that was to build new secure
Spending: $74.3 billon
Percentage Change from 2012: 39.4 percent decrease
Discretionary Spending: $13.8 billion
Highlights: Obama’s proposed transportation budget includes a
six-year, $476-billion surface transportation bill to be paid for
by user fees and some of the savings from reducing military
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s a decrease from the bare
bones, six-year, $556 billion surface transportation bill he
proposed last year.
A key difference is that last year Obama’s plan — which was
largely ignored by Congress — didn’t include proposals to pay
transportation investments. Also, both last year’s plan and this
year’s plan far exceed the spending called for under transportation
bills in the House and Senate, where lawmakers have struggled to
find money to pay for highway and transit projects. The House bill
would spend $260 billion over 4 1/2 years; the Senate $109 billion
over less than two years.
Like last year, Obama’s proposal calls for significant funding
for high-speed trains — $47 billion over six years. That’s about $6
billion less than last year’s proposal. But neither the House nor
the Senate bills contain any money for high-speed rail. Nor is
there any money in the current budget.
Obama’s budget also calls for a $50 billion “upfront” infusion
for roads, bridges, transit systems, border crossing railways and
runways in the current fiscal year to spur job creation.
The idea of taking war “savings” to pay for other programs is
budgetary sleight of hand. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have
been largely financed through borrowing, so stopping the wars
doesn’t create a pool of ready cash, just less debt.
Agency: Veterans Affairs
Spending: $137.4 billion
Percentage Change from 2012: 10.6 percent increase
Discretionary Spending: $61 billion
Highlights: Obama’s budget reflects the growing number of
veterans who will need health care through the VA. The budget
projects that about 610,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan
wars will get health care through VA’s hospitals and clinics this
fiscal year. The budget seeks spending increases for virtually all
health services provided, including a 5 percent increase for mental
health services, which has become a top priority among
congressional oversight committees, and a double-digit increase for
health programs designed to assist female veterans.
The budget also proposes $1 billion over five years for a
Veterans Jobs Corps, a new initiative that would put veterans to
work rebuilding roads, trails and other infrastructure on public
The budget seeks a 33 percent increase in spending to combat
homelessness among veterans. The administration has set a goal of
eliminating homelessness among veterans by 2015. The money would be
used to hire coordinators who will help veterans with disability
claims, housing problems and other needs. Additional money would be
provided to non-profits that help house veterans and their
Obama also is seeking more money to deal with the growing number
of disability claims that the department is getting from veterans.
Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are filing claims that
include about 8.5 disabilities per veteran, a rate nearly double
that for claims from veterans of previous wars.