U.S. President Barack Obama next week presents the final budget proposal of his presidency, focusing on the challenges facing the country for decades to come, the White House said Saturday.
The 2017 fiscal-year spending plan is to be released Tuesday, but Obama already has touted some of its initiatives in recent weeks. A sneak peek issued by the White House Saturday said the budget will focus on a concerted effort to cure cancer, clean transportation, agricultural research, and land and water conservation. It also will emphasize educational opportunities, workforce initiatives, healthcare, addiction treatment and national security.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 13, 2016
“The budget ... makes smart investments to accelerate the pace of innovation to tackle climate change and find new treatments for devastating diseases, give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and economic security and advance our national security and global leadership,” Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said on the White House blog.
The White House earlier this week unveiled a proposal to impose a $10-per-barrel tax on oil to fund clean transportation. The tax would be paid by oil companies to cut oil consumption and the related carbon pollution, as well as to create jobs. The administration also announced a $1 billion initiative to develop effective cancer treatments with an eye toward eliminating the diseases.
The proposed budget would provide $900 million to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is designed “to preserve historic resources, protect endangered wildlife, restore forest ecosystems and provide recreational opportunities ... in iconic places that range from Grand Canyon National Park to local parks in nearly every county across the nation.”
Building on the historic Paris agreement to reduce global warming, Obama will propose doubling the federal investment in clean-energy research to $12.8 billion in the 2021 fiscal year from $6.4 billion in the 2016 fiscal year, in line with an international commitment to “accelerate the availability of the advanced technologies that will define a future global energy mix that is clean, affordable and reliable.”
The spending plan also seeks $700 million for agricultural research to maintain the U.S. position as the world’s “gold standard” among countries engaged in research and innovation.
In terms of education funding, Obama will call for $4 billion for the states and $100 million for individual school districts to train teachers and expand access to computer-instruction materials to give students a chance to learn computer science. The president also will call for a $2 billion increase in the Pell Grant Program and propose a Community College Partnership Tax Credit to encourage employers to play more active roles in funding college for responsible students. His budget also seeks $6 billion in funding to help young people gain work experience and skills.
The budget proposes cost-neutral reforms to modernize the unemployment-insurance system to provide protections for workers who take pay cuts simply to go back to work. To encourage saving for retirement, the budget includes proposals to increase access to retirement plans and increase portability of retirement savings accounts.
With respect to families, the budget proposes expanding Medicaid, imposing an excise tax on high-cost, employer-sponsored health coverage (something Obama has proposed several times) and revitalizing neighborhoods. The spending plan also calls for a $12 billion investment during the next decade in a permanent summer electronic-benefits-transfer program for children to reduce hunger.
On the national-security front, Obama will seek $390 million in bilateral foreign assistance to Colombia in support of a possible peace accord with FARC rebels, $3.4 billion to ensure peace in Europe and $1.4 billion to build a new FBI headquarters.