Obama Unveils $3.9 Trillion 'Opportunity Agenda' Budget
WASHINGTON – President Obama issued a $3.9 trillion budget proposal for 2015 on Tuesday that contains heavy new investments in infrastructure upgrades, education and job training.
The package, released about a month late in the wake of a two-year spending plan adopted by Congress and signed by the president in December, received little support in the Republican-controlled House – which is expected to release its own proposal shortly – and may not even get much consideration in the Senate.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, characterized the White House blueprint as “unserious,” asserting that it’s “just the type of silly politicking we’ll need to get past.”
“First of all, it could probably never even pass the Democrat-led Senate,” McConnell said. “And in some sense, that’s the point. Rather than put together a constructive blueprint the two parties could use as a jumping off point to get our economy moving and our fiscal house in order, the president has once again opted for the political stunt — for a budget that’s more about firing up the president’s base in an election year than about solving the nation’s biggest and most persistent long-term challenges.”
McConnell said the White House plan would increase taxes by well over a trillion dollars “in the worst economic slowdown nearly anyone can remember,” increase spending by $790 billion and “do almost nothing to address the most serious threats facing our children’s’ futures.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) agreed with the McConnell analysis, asserting that "after years of fiscal and economic mismanagement the president has offered perhaps his most irresponsible budget yet.”
"American families looking for jobs and opportunity will find only more government in this plan,” Boehner said. “Spending too much, borrowing too much and taxing too much, it would hurt our economy and cost jobs."
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, has made it clear that her panel won’t even consider adopting a budget this year, instead heading directly to the appropriations process, using the parameters established in the December agreement.
“The president’s budget proposal is a strong blueprint for building on our bipartisan budget deal to create jobs, expand opportunities and tackle our deficits and debt fairly and responsibly,” Murray said. “The two-year bipartisan budget deal signed into law in December was a strong step in the right direction but it shouldn’t be the last step we take. So while the American people have a budget in place and the certainty they deserve that there won’t be another budget crisis through the end of 2015, we in Congress owe it to them to work together to build on that bipartisan foundation.”
Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) said he was concerned about included cuts to homeland security grant programs, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the budget blueprint would need work to "address those areas where the president’s proposals fall short.”
The president’s 2015 executive budget proposal calls for spending about $56 billion above the total agreed to in the two-year budget agreement. About $1.2 trillion of the $3.9 trillion is targeted at discretionary programs – those areas where Congress and the White House maintain some spending controls. The remaining $2.7 trillion heads mostly to entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while the remainder is dedicated to making interest payments on the federal debt and funding benefits for federal government retirees and veterans.