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Obama’s final budget: predictions and opportunities

Tomorrow, President Obama will unveil his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2017. In American politics, budgets are political documents, offered not solely with the expectation that every piece of the document has a serious shot at becoming policy, but rather with the intention that the document will set off a national discussion and set the agenda for policies to be considered.

Putting forward a budget isn’t about spending monetary capital on issues, so much as it is about spending political capital. It’s a document focused not only on costs, but also values.

Put in other terms, the budget is a sneak peek at what the Administration wants to focus on in the coming year. With that in mind, here’s a sneak peek of the budget.

President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget

Transportation: The new budget will reaffirm the President’s commitment to addressing crumbling infrastructure by putting forth a plan for building a 21stCentury Clean Transportation System. The proposal will increase the country’s clean infrastructure investments by around 50 percent and would be paid for by new fees for oil companies.

Innovation: Following the global launch of Mission Innovation in Paris, where 20 countries announced they would double their investments in new ideas and technology, President Obama will offer a plan to increase America’s $6.4 billion R&D budget for FY 2016, to twice that, $12.8 billion, by FY 2021.

Medical Research: The proposal will also include $1 billion for a “moonshot” project to cure cancer and revolutionize treatment of the disease.

Agriculture: The President’s budget will continue investments in the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative which was established seven years ago.

Conservation: The Land and Water Conservation Fund, established 50 years ago to help maintain, preserve, and protect America’s natural resources, wildlife and beauty, will receive $900 million annually under the President’s budget.

Computer Science Education: In order to develop a workforce equipped with the skills needed in the modern economy, the budget will call for $4 billion in new investments for states and $100 million for districts to ensure that all students have access to computer science classes.

Higher Education: The President’s budget will continue pushing to increase access to higher education opportunities. As a part of this push he is calling for an additional $2 billion investment in the federal Pell Grants Program, as well as reforms to the program. He will also propose a new Community College Partnership Tax Credit as part of his effort to ultimately offer responsible students two free years of community college.

Youth Employment: $6 billion are provided in the new budget to help young people develop the work experience, skills and networks that will allow them to successfully enter the workforce.

Unemployment: The President’s budget will also offer a set of cost-neutral reforms to the Unemployment Insurance System that will make it easier for Americans who lose their job to get help from this program and get back to work.

Retirement: Another set of proposals in the budget is intended to make accessing retirement plans and transporting benefits easier.

Medicaid and Healthcare: The President will put forth a legislative proposal that will allow states which choose to expand Medicaid now to benefit from federal support for as long as states which did the expansion in 2014. Another proposal would improve the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage, or “Cadillac tax.”

Economic Mobility: The budget includes a package of programs and investments to increase economic opportunity and mobility.

Child Nutrition: The President will also propose a ten year investment to reduce child hunger with a Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children program. This would provide food benefits that can support children who are at risk of poor nutrition during the summer when they are without access to reduced price school lunches.

Drug Addiction Treatment: The budget also calls for an additional $1 billion dollars to continue fighting prescription drug abuse through prevention and treatment.

International Aid and Support: The President will propose increased foreign assistance to Columbia to continue efforts for peace and prosperity in the country. Additionally, he will quadruple the investment in the European Reassurance Initiative to help support stability and security in Europe. 

Security: The budget will also include funding for the construction of a new headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to allow the agency to more effectively and efficiently provide for the country’s safety.


Alex Slater

Clyde Group

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