Obama Unveils Record $4.1 TRILLION Budget as Congress Gears Up for a Fight

Obama Unveils Record $4.1 TRILLION Budget as Congress Gears Up for a Fight

President Obama on Tuesday unveiled the final budget proposal of his administration – a record $4.1 TRILLION plan that includes hundreds of billions of fresh spending for his top domestic, energy and environmental policies.

It didn’t take Republicans long to respond to Obama’s record $4.1 trillion budget proposal – labeling it “a progressive manual for growing the federal government at the expense of hardworking Americans,” as House Speaker Paul Ryan put it.

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The deficit is set to rise to $616 billion this year after the White House and Congress approved a generous tax and spending accord last December, reported Yahoo News. But the administration’s new budget projects that the deficit will decline again in 2017 and 2018 before sharply rising again as more and more Americans retire and place added pressure on entitlement spending.

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The Fiscal Times reported that in his budget message, Obama described his proposal as a major investment in the future – one that would provide more assistance to the middle class, create a cleaner environment and toughen national security and defense against cyberattacks.

“With a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production, we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth,” Obama said. “It’s now up to us to choose what kind of country we want to be over the next 15 years, and for decades to come.”

“Will we accept an economy where prosperity belongs to a few and opportunity remains out of reach for too many?” he added. “Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort? The ideas I offer in this budget are designed to bring middle-class economics into the 21st century.”

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While the lame duck president may find some Republican interest in a few of his proposals, House and Senate GOP budget leaders summarily ruled out the president’s budget, saying it doesn’t adequately address the nation’s long term deficit and national debt problems recently highlighted by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), the chairmen of the Senate and House Budget Committees, are so adamant in opposing Obama’s fiscal policies that they are refusing to allow White House budget director Shaun Donovan to testify before Congress on the president’s new plan – an unprecedented snub of the administration.

The total public debt outstanding reached a record $19 trillion last week and is projected to rise to more than 76 percent of gross domestic product in each of the next three years, up from less than 74 percent last year. That is the highest level seen since the aftermath of World War II.

Tax revenues would rise as well, although the projected $3.64 trillion in revenues over the coming year still would leave a budget deficit of $503.4 billion in fiscal 2017.

The following are some of the proposals that will be included (Reuters):

PENTAGON

The Pentagon will ask for more than $7 billion for the fight against Islamic State, up about 35 percent from the previous year’s budget request to Congress, and wants a fourfold increase for military training and exercises in Europe to support NATO allies.

TAX ON OIL

In a long-shot bid to raise $20 billion to expand transit systems and research self-driving cars, Obama will propose a $10-a-barrel tax on crude oil.

CYBERSECURITY AND IT UPGRADES

The budget will propose boosting spending on cybersecurity by 35 percent to $19 billion and creating a $3.1 billion fund to modernize the government’s creaky information technology systems.

RENEWABLE ENERGY FUNDING

Obama will seek a 20 percent boost for renewable energy research funding to a total of $7.7 billion.

TAX CREDIT FOR BUSINESSES WORKING WITH COLLEGES

Obama will propose a $2.5 billion tax credit over five years for businesses that invest in community college programs and 05:00:then hire their graduates.

ZIKA VIRUS RESPONSE

The White House will ask for $1.8 billion in emergency funding to prepare for the Zika virus, work on tests and vaccines, and assist Puerto Rico and countries grappling with the outbreak.

FINANCIAL REGULATORS

Obama will seek an 11 percent hike in funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission to $1.8 billion and 32 percent increase for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to $330 million.

PAY RAISE FOR FEDERAL WORKERS

The budget will propose a 1.6 percent pay increase for military and civilian federal personnel.

OPIOID ADDICTION TREATMENT

Obama will ask for $1.1 billion in new funding to expand treatment for people addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers, a growing epidemic.

AID TO COLOMBIA

Obama pledged more than $450 million in aid to Colombia to help with security and integrating rebel combatants into society under a pending peace deal to end Latin America’s longest war.

POVERTY AID

Obama will propose $12 billion over 10 years to supplement food stamps for poor families when school meal programs are closed in the summer, $2 billion in emergency aid for families in crisis, a combined $328 million in education and housing grants to poor neighborhoods, and a $15 million pilot program to help poor families move to better neighborhoods.

MEDICAID EXPANSION

The budget will include three years of federal funding to 19 state governments that passed up an earlier offer to expand Medicaid coverage for more than 4 million low-income people.

TWEAK TO “CADILLAC TAX”

Obama will ask for tweaks to a tax on certain health insurance plans that is unpopular with labor unions.

JOBS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

The White House will ask for $5.5 billion in incentives for businesses that hire young people and $200 million for apprenticeship programs.

COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION

Obama will propose $4 billion for states and $100 million for school districts to expand computer science in schools.

COAL COUNTRY

The budget will include $1 billion over five years to help coal-mining regions with economic development.

CANCER RESEARCH

The White House will ask for $755 million for Vice President Joe Biden’s “moonshot” effort to find new cancer treatments.

AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH

The budget will include $700 million in agricultural research grants, double the spending level in 2016.

MENTAL HEALTHCARE

Obama has proposed $500 million to boost access to mental healthcare as part of his push to address gun violence.

NATIONAL BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS BUREAU

Obama will propose $95 million for a new office responsible for background checks for federal employees.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS

As part of reforms to the criminal justice system, Obama will ask for $24 million for better housing for inmates with serious mental illnesses.

RETIREMENT SAVINGS

Obama will propose tax credits for small businesses offering 401(k) plans or expanding access to retirement savings programs.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

Obama will seek to expand unemployment insurance to more types of workers, provide wage insurance for workers moving to lower-paid positions, and provide incentives to states for retraining or relocating workers.

BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES (ATF)

Obama will ask for funding to hire 200 new ATF staff to enforce gun laws.

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