Obama Unveils $3.9 Trillion 'Opportunity Agenda' Budget
The additional $56 billion in proposed spending is split equally between the military and domestic sides of the ledger. The plan includes initiatives to support manufacturing facilities, job training and preschool programs, to be paid for by reducing special interest tax breaks and cutting programs in other areas, including farm subsidies.
A centerpiece of the package is a four-year, $302 billion plan to increase spending on highways, rail projects, mass transit and other transportation needs. Corporate taxes would account for half of the spending on what Obama has long complained is the nation’s sagging infrastructure.
The current transportation funding bill expires at the end of September. While the president’s plan may not be embraced, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are determined to come up with a way to address the nation’s travel needs and provide additional financial support to supplement the $18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax.
Obama also is looking to double the earned-income tax credit for low-wage workers to $1,000 annually and spend $76 billion over 10 years to assist state initiatives to offer preschool education to 4 year olds.
The president included, as he has discussed in the past, an offer to overhaul a corporate tax code that businesses maintain assesses the world’s highest corporate tax rate at 35 percent.
In releasing the budget during an appearance at Powell Elementary School in Washington, Obama said his “opportunity agenda” is built on four parts -- more good jobs and good wages, improved training to provide workers with the skills they need for the future, a guarantee to provide every child access to a world-class education and assuring that the nation’s economy is one in which hard work is rewarded.
“The budget I sent Congress this morning lays out how we’ll implement this agenda in a balanced and responsible way,” he said. “It’s a roadmap for creating jobs with good wages and expanding opportunity for all Americans. And at a time when our deficits have been cut in half, it allows us to meet our obligations to future generations without leaving them a mountain of debt. This budget adheres to the spending levels that both parties in both houses of Congress already agreed to. But it also builds on that progress with what we’re calling an Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative that invests in our economic priorities in a smart way that is fully paid for by making smart spending cuts and closing tax loopholes that right now only benefit the well-off and the well-connected.”
But Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, replied that the president’s budget “is yet another disappointment because it reinforces the status quo” and stressed that he will unveil his own spending plan next month.
“It would demand that families pay more so Washington can spend more,” Ryan said of Obama’s plan. “It would hollow out our defense capabilities. And it would do nothing to preserve or strengthen our entitlements. The president has just three years left in his administration, and yet he seems determined to do nothing about our fiscal challenges.”