Obama’s budget for fy 2015 was sent to Congress, and it follows his basic philosophy he has proposed during the past six years. It represents his progressive agenda. I will run through some of the major points Obama proposes for the future.
Debt – The federal debt today is roughly $17.5 trillion. The budget projects the debt will rise to $25 trillion by 2024. This means that by 2017, the interest on the national debt will be more than we project will be paid for Medicaid. In 2020, the interest paid will be more than the projected budget for the military. The interest on the debt is projected to rise from $223 billion in the Presidents new budget to more than $800 billion in 10 years. This is money not available for other things like defense or road maintenance.
Defense – The Defense budget continues to shrink. Another $113 billion will be cut next year. This brings the budget down from $608.6 billion to $495.6. Most of the cuts come from troop reductions for the army. Our active duty force will be the smallest in 74 years. There will also be a retirement of some of the older weapon systems.
Education – Look for an increase in the budget for education of 1.9%, or an increase of $1.3 billion to $68.6 billion. This does not count the $14.4 billion sent to the states for educating the poor or the $11.5 billion spent on special needs children. Much of the increase will go to Obama’s plan to educate children ages 4 and up. There is proposed an increase in the tobacco tax to help fund this increase.
Health and Human Services – This department will face a cut of 7.6%. The funding for the National Institute of Health is flat with last year. The agency was looking for a major increase for research, but the President rejected their plea. The budget funds ObamaCare with money to fund the federal and state exchanges, and the subsidies for the poor.
Veterans Affairs – The veterans will find a 3.0% increase in their budget to $65.3 billion. The increase will go to help reduce the 600,000 backlog in applications for benefits. The budget also funds a program to help the homeless veterans with housing vouchers and a study to prevent homelessness.
Homeland Security – Spending for Homeland Security would be reduced by 2.8% or a budget of $38.2 billion. This is equal to the 2013 budget amount. The plan calls for 4,000 additional Customs and Border Protection officers. However, there is no funding for finishing the fence on the Mexican border. $549 million will be spent to protect federal computers from cybersecurity threats. $1 billion will be sent to state and local firefighters and emergency management personnel. Another $10 million will be spent to help immigrants on their way to citizenship.
Energy – The President is asking for a 2.6% increase in the budget to $27.9 billion. This money is for managing our nuclear stockpile. $11.7 billion is for nuclear security, a 4% increase over last year.
Agriculture – The farmers didn’t fare well under the new proposal. The budget cuts roughly $1 billion in subsidies. Obama wants to cut subsidies for crop insurance to farmers and insurance companies.
NASA – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will receive $17.5 billion for the coming year, about the same as FY 2014. All major programs will go forward as planned. The problem is that NASA does not have any major programs in its future.
Labor – The Labor Department will suffer a 1.7% decrease in their budget to $11.8 billion. Obama will fund new programs to reach unemployed workers, newly separated veterans with reemployment services, and launching new paid leave programs in the states.
Corps of Engineers – These folks would suffer an 18.2% reduction in their proposed budget. The new focus would be on promoting environment returns. The new $4.5 billion budget would streamline procedures to allow state and local governments to take over some of the maintenance. User fees would be increases on those who use the waterways.
This is just a summary of the budget proposed by the President. Congress will pass a series of spending bills covering all spending. The final legislation may look entirely different from the President’s proposal. This is just the starting point. In all, there will be 13 different spending bills covering the budget. Obama is promoting his progressive agenda. Congress will have the final say.