Obama Budget Released on NH Primary Day02/08 06:25
The main thing to know about President Barack Obama's final, $4 trillion
budget is that it comes on the same day as the New Hampshire primary, ensuring
it gets minimal attention with all the focus on the White House contenders.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The main thing to know about President Barack Obama's
final, $4 trillion budget is that it comes on the same day as the New Hampshire
primary, ensuring it gets minimal attention with all the focus on the White
The timing cements the impression that Obama realizes a Republican-led
Congress is unlikely to embrace his spending priorities. Typically, the budget
is released on a Monday, but White House press secretary Josh Earnest says
Tuesday's release allowed hard-working administration employees and journalists
a chance to watch the Super Bowl.
The 2017 budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 will combine proposals
for new spending on infrastructure, education and combating opioid abuse with
tax increases on corporations and wealthy individuals to keep deficits down.
This will avoid proposing cuts to popular programs like Medicare, student loans
or food stamps.
The administration has unveiled several proposals on a piecemeal basis
leading up to the official rollout.
Things to know:
The budget is just a proposal, and the White House gets to assume that it's
enacted in its entirety. That means it always contains lots of things that have
no chance of ever making their way through Congress --- like a $10 per barrel
fee on oil to pay for more than $30 billion in various transportation projects,
which landed with a thud on Thursday. The same can be said of Obama's plans for
$6 billion for job training, including $4 billion over three years to teach
Other proposals may have more of a shot, including $1 billion over two years
to combat heroin and opioid addictions, additional funding to feed low-income
children during the summer, when most lose access to free and reduced-price
lunches, and additional money for the administration's "moonshot" effort to
"My budget is going to offer more opportunities for Americans to get the
education and job training that they need for a good paying job," Obama said on
Friday. "It will offer new ideas for benefits and protections that provide
folks with a basic sense of security."
RED INK IS WORSE
Believe it or not, last year's $439 billion deficit was actually pretty good
even though it required the government to borrow 12 cents of every dollar it
spent. That's way down from the record $1.4 trillion deficit, which required
borrowing 40 cents of every dollar spent, registered in Obama's first year in
But now, the Congressional Budget Office says that last year's tax and
spending bill, combined with worsening economic projections, means that
deficits will begin a steady march to the $1 trillion mark in a few years.
Sooner or later, CBO says, action to curb the deficit is a must, or else it
could drag down the economy and lead to a potential European-style fiscal
crisis. These problems will be left to Obama's successor since he and GOP
leaders have long since given up on working together to get the deficit under
DEAD ON ARRIVAL
Hate the cliche, tagged onto the budget of virtually every president, but it
has never been truer. In fact, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., declared
Obama's $10 per barrel of oil tax dead on arrival. Obama's budget is so dead
that the Republican chairmen of House and Senate Budget committees issued a
statement declaring they wouldn't even bother to hold the requisite day-after
hearing to allow White House Budget Office chief Shaun Donovan to go through
the motions of defending it.
"Nothing in the president's prior budgets ... has shown that the Obama
administration has any real interest in actually solving our fiscal
challenges," chided House Budget Chair Tom Price, R-Ga.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the Republican
chairmen's actions "insulting" and said their "contemptuous attitude is
unworthy of the U.S. Congress and the American people."
After the budget's brief time in the spotlight and the GOP's countermeasure,
the real work begins: Action on the 12 individual bills to finance the
government agencies and departments. Those bills divvy up the approximately
one-third of the budget passed each year at Congress' discretion, including
funds for the Pentagon and the day-to-day operations of domestic agencies.
The process has gotten way off kilter in recent years, consumed by
brinksmanship and hard feelings, but Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell, R-Ky., say they want to get it back on track. Finishing the bills
before the election is a heavy lift, and if Republicans win the presidency in
November, they could stick to a short-term extension and wait for the new
president to finish the bills.