Obama’s Budget Proposal Faces Criticism
The plan emphasizes education and eliminating tax cuts for wealthy Americans who make over $250,000 a year.
The budget contains a proposal to create an $8 billion fund to train up to 2 million workers for high-in-demand jobs in technology industries. Obama said these industries are having difficulties finding qualified people to take open positions.
It is unlikely that the proposal will pass the Republican controlled House. Instead, the proposal may be a campaign strategy for Obama. The L.A. Times even referred to it as a “preview of election battle.” And Politico said the budget was meant as a “challenge.”
"This proposal isn't really a budget at all. It's a campaign document. The plan is obvious: Rather than reach out to members of Congress on a consensus budget, the president will take this budget on the road, as he is today, and talk about the parts he thinks audiences will like," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky to the N.Y. Post.
Republicans began criticizing the budget even before it was officially released as a “broken promise on deficit reduction made worse by a series of gimmicks that overstate what budget savings there are,” according to the N.Y. Times.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused Obama of dodging difficult decisions on Social Security and Medicare.
“The president has failed to offer a single serious idea to save Social Security and is the only president in modern history to cut Medicare benefits for seniors,” Romney told the N.Y. Times.
Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH-R) said the budget’s tax increase on the wealthy is the largest in U.S. history.
Many Republican leaders have also objected to Obama claiming that over the next 10 years he will be able to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion. Republicans have said his plan will reduce the deficit by closer to $300 billion.
Under Obama’s budget proposal, $3 trillion in cuts would come from tax increases and spending cuts. An additional $900 billion would come from domestic spending cuts. These cuts were agreed upon with Republicans last year.
The budget assumes that automatic cuts to programs totaling $1.2 trillion set to go into effect in 2013 will not occur and that cuts to reimbursements of rates to doctors treating Medicare patients will not be enforced, according to the N.Y. Times.
It is estimated that the U.S. will save around $1 trillion by no longer spending money on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Critics of Obama’s budget have said it is unfair for Obama to count this as savings, because it is unclear just how much the U.S. would actually be spending on the wars in the next 10 years.
The budget proposed cuts to defense funds for the first time since 1998. The plan gives the Pentagon a budget of $525.4 billion, which is $5.1 billion less than approve in 2012.
The plan also shifts defense spending on Asia-Pacific and Middle East areas.
"This budget plan represents a historic shift to the future, recognizing that we are at a strategic point after a decade of war," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Reuters in a statement. "The plan is aligned to strategic priorities we have identified to keep America safe and maintain the strongest military in the world."
The Pentagon said structure cuts under the proposal would save about $50 billion over the next five years.
Cuts are also being made to the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Biomedical research funds would be frozen at $30.7 billion and growth in the Food and Drug Administration’s budget would be dependent on industry user fees, reports Politico. The fees include a $220 million food establishment charge.
House Republicans’ answer to the budget plan is due in the spring.
Reach associate news editor Hannah Madans here.