Obama lays out 2017 spend­ing pri­or­i­ties in fi­nal White House bud­get

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama un­veils his fi­nal White House bud­get on Tues­day with a blue­print for fis­cal year 2017 that will lay out his spend­ing pro­pos­als for pri­or­i­ties from fight­ing Is­lamic State to pro­vid­ing for the poor. The bud­get for the fis­cal year be­gin­ning on Oct. 1 is largely a political doc­u­ment and is un­likely to be passed by the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Congress.

But it gives the Demo­cratic pres­i­dent, who leaves of­fice in Jan­uary, a chance to make a last pitch for fund­ing on is­sues such as education, crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form and job cre­ation. "That doc­u­ment ... will be Pres­i­dent Obama's fi­nal vi­sion of how he lays out the fis­cal fu­ture for the coun­try," said Joel Fried­man, vice pres­i­dent for fed­eral fis­cal pol­icy at the Cen­ter on Bud­get and Pol­icy Pri­or­i­ties.

"I don't think any­one ex­pects it to be en­acted this year. Repub­li­cans aren't go­ing to em­brace it, but that doesn't mean it's not go­ing to be a use­ful doc­u­ment."

Congress can ad­vance el­e­ments of the bud­get with­out en­dors­ing the en­tire pro­posal, which is likely to call for roughly $4 tril­lion in to­tal spend­ing, in line with Obama's $3.99 tril­lion pro­posal for fis­cal year 2016.

The bud­get is likely to stay within the con­fines of an agree­ment reached be­tween the White House and Congress last year that lifted manda­tory "se­ques­tra­tion" cuts on both de­fense and do­mes­tic spend­ing.

Fried­man noted that Obama and Repub­li­can Speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Paul Ryan agreed on some ways to fight poverty, such as an ex­pan­sion of the Earned In­come Tax Credit to en­cour­age low-in­come Amer­i­cans to work.

But dif­fer­ences be­tween the two political par­ties in a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year are es­pe­cially pro­nounced, and Repub­li­can law­mak­ers have taken the un­usual step of not invit­ing White House bud­get di­rec­tor Shaun Dono­van to brief about the pro­posal.

"Maybe they are tak­ing the Don­ald Trump ap­proach to de­bates about the bud­get. They are just not go­ing to show up," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told re­porters last week, re­fer­ring to the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial front-run­ner's de­ci­sion to skip a de­bate with his coun­ter­parts ahead of the nom­i­nat­ing con­test in Iowa. The ad­min­is­tra­tion has al­ready re­leased key el­e­ments. The Pen­tagon will ask for more than $7 bil­lion for the fight against Is­lamic State, up about 35 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year's re­quest, and Obama will seek a 20 per­cent boost for re­new­able en­ergy re­search fund­ing to a to­tal of $7.7 bil­lion.

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