President Barack Obama will send his fiscal year 2015 budget to Congress Tuesday, proposing how to allocate the $1.014 trillion agreed to in a bipartisan budget deal in December.
In an election year where the fiscal showdowns have been punted, Obama’s budget will instead push his policy priorities and remind midterm voters of the issues important to Democrats. It is likely, therefore, to spark no negotiations with congressional Republicans, who are expected to toss it aside as their leadership plans to introduce its own blueprint.
So prepare for a political messaging war and for certain olive branches previously extended to the Republicans to be lopped off. Over the weekend, the president gave a preview of what’s inside the budget proposal he will be sending Congress.
Here’s a taste of it:
With unemployment insurance having recently expired for 1.3 million Americans, and Democrats trying to shame Republicans at every opportunity for trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the only card left to play is that of continued public pressure. And when Obama’s 2015 budget is announced -- albeit it very late -- it will seek to paint the president and Democrats as job creators who want opportunity for all.
This is what the Obama told the Democratic National Committee on Friday:
“I will send Congress a budget that will create new jobs in manufacturing and energy and innovation and infrastructure. And we’ll pay for every dime of it by cutting unnecessary spending, closing wasteful tax loopholes.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama will propose spending $302 billion over four years to fund infrastructure projects.
The Democratic messaging on this has already begun.
At the DNC, Obama said, “Now, Republicans have a different view. Just last month, their party actually made it a part of their platform to let folks at the very top play by a different set of rules, and avoid paying their fair share by stashing their money in overseas tax havens, a practice that also adds billions of dollars to our deficits every year.”
So expect Obama to outline ways to bring in more revenue by either cutting or eliminating tax breaks for some or tightening the rules for some businesses that shift profits abroad.
“As Democrats, we believe that instead of more tax breaks for the few, we should make investments that grow the economy for everyone,” Obama has said. “That’s what we believe.”
More Money For Defense
Early last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a budget to reduce the size of the military and sent some airplanes, including the A-10, to the graveyard. And with a $496 billion budget, Hagel said the military’s modernization and readiness is being challenged. That’s when he revealed that Obama intends to “close these gaps” by providing an additional $26 billion for the department in his 2015 budget.
Universal preschool has been one of the president’s second-term priorities. Obama has proposed paying for this with a tobacco tax. There are reports that the president plans to expand Head Start, a comprehensive early childhood program for low-income children and families.
No More Chained CPI
While seeking a grand bargain on the nation’s debt, Obama offered Republicans this alternative method for calculating inflation that would have slowed the growth of Social Security benefits. The offer outraged Democrats. But since Republicans haven’t bitten and deficits are decreasing, that option is now reportedly off the table.