Obama to raise spending on defence, education, health

Washington, Jan 30 (IANS/EFE) US President Barack Obama will present his annual budget proposals for the 2016 fiscal year next week, with proposed boosts in expenditure on defence, health and education programmes.

In an article published in “The Huffington Post” Thursday, Obama said his budget would “fully reverse” the spending cuts known as sequestration that took effect in 2013 to reduce the deficit.
Those cuts, valued at $1.2 trillion until 2023, impacted several social welfare programmes of the government and the Pentagon’s budget, in particular.
According to the White House, Obama will call for an increase in discretionary spending by $74 billion which represents a 7 percent jump over the limits set by those cuts.
The budget, to be presented Monday, proposes $561 billion in defence spending and national security, and $530 billion for non-defence domestic programmes.
“If Congress rejects my plan and refuses to undo these arbitrary cuts, it will threaten our economy and our military,” warned Obama.
Moreover, investments in key areas will fall to their lowest level in 10 years, jeopardising US research, education, infrastructure and national security, he added.
The new budget seeks new investments in advanced manufacturing centres and in the reconstruction of infrastructure as well as paid sick leave for working parents.
Another one of his “pragmatic” proposals is to make the first two years of community college free which he announced earlier this month.
This week, Obama withdrew his controversial plan to end 529 college savings plans after a backlash from both Republican and Democratic legislators.
The budget also proposes boosting federal spending to over $1.2 billion to combat infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria which, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affect two million people and cause 23,000 deaths in the country annually.
Obama declared that all these plans would be financed through cuts in inefficient spending and by closing the tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy.
The presentation of the budget promises to give rise to new battles with the Republicans, most of whom are opposed to increasing public spending.
The government is also under pressure from Democrats themselves to approve a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) beyond Feb 27 when its funds will run out.
On Jan 14, the House passed a bill to fund the DHS beyond that date leaving no funds for Obama’s executive actions to legalise some five million undocumented immigrants.