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- 02-14-2012, 08:23 AM #1
Obama's budget would cut NASA, Pentagon and cost of jailing immigrants
By Richard S. Dunham
Updated 11:27 p.m., Monday, February 13, 2012
In an appearance Monday at Northern Virginia Community College in Annadale, Va., President Barack Obama talks about the "Community College to Career Fund" and his 2013 budget.
WASHINGTON - Declaring that he was seeking an economy "built to last," President Barack Obama unveiled an election-year budget blueprint Monday that would send more money to Texas for schools, roads and high-speed rail but would end energy industry tax breaks and slash reimbursements to local governments for the cost of jailing illegal immigrants guilty of crimes.
Obama's $3.8 trillion budget for the 2013 fiscal year - the biggest in American history - mirrored the Democratic incumbent's populist economic message of recent months. To pay for what he calls "investments" in America's future, the president would force the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans and certain businesses to ante up $1.5 trillion in additional taxes over the next decade.
Defying Republican demands to reduce federal spending, Obama embraced the liberal economic theory that a new round of spending would stimulate the nascent economic recovery.
"We can't just cut our way into growth," Obama said Monday at a community college in the swing state of Virginia. "We can cut back on the things that we don't need, but we also have to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share for the things that we do need."
Republicans responded with a combination of disgust and dismay.
"The president has needlessly killed many trees and wasted many bureaucrat hours on a political document aimed at his re-election instead of the betterment of the country," said Republican Congressman Kevin Brady, of The Woodlands, the top House Republican on Congress' Joint Economic Committee. "If he is to be a one-term president, it will be a monument to his folly and the failure of big government."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, dismissed the president's proposal as "a campaign document."
Among the losers in the Obama budget belt-tightening were the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security, NASA and the Agriculture Department, which saw slight spending reductions to comply with the spending caps in last year's bipartisan debt-limit compromise.
One of the steepest reductions in the Obama budget is a massive reduction in the Justice Department's program that reimburses state and local law enforcement agencies for jailing illegal immigrants guilty of crimes. Funding would decline from $240 million to $70 million.
Democratic Rep. Gene Green of Houston said he was "deeply disappointed to see that the president's 2013 budget cuts funding to programs that are essential to the Houston economy," among them NASA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects. And budget provisions targeting energy industry tax breaks would have "negative repercussions" to "a critical foundation of our local and national economies."
NASA's budget would decline by 0.3 percent to $17.7 billion, but its Mars exploration budget would drop from $587 million this year to $361 million next year - nearly a 40 percent cut. NASA administrator Charles Bolden says the plan "in-sources jobs, creates capabilities here at home - and strengthens our workforce, all while opening the next great chapter in American exploration."
But Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said the administration's spending priorities "will slow the development" of a new space launch system and crew vehicle. The Dallas Republican pledged to fight to protect "key elements of our future strategy for human space exploration."
One prominent nonpartisan budget-watcher, former U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker and now CEO of the Comeback America Initiative, lamented that the budget was "not bold enough or specific enough."
From environmentalists to consumer groups, Democratic constituencies fared well. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission would get a 50 percent increase to help it implement financial reforms, and the Securities and Exchange Commission would get a boost of more than 20 percent. The administration proposed a 60 percent hike in pipeline safety spending following the deadly gas line explosion in San Bruno, Calif., and the crude oil leak into the Yellowstone River in Montana. The president also sought more money for college aid, renewable energy and incentives for American manufacturing.
Despite the cuts, the spending plan falls far short of balancing the federal budget. After four consecutive years of trillion-dollar deficits, the White House projects its plan would reduce the red ink to $901 billion in 2013.
In the end, Obama's budget was driven more by political realities. With the election less than nine months away, the incumbent sought big spending increases on popular initiatives like $476 billion for transportation projects including roads, bridges and high-speed rail.
The president's budget contains about $300 million for the Houston Metro's north, southeastern and eastern lines - the second of three installments toward the projects' estimated $950 million cost.
Obama also sought an $850 million increase in grants for high-performing schools under his "Race to the Top" initiative. And he wants to pump $8 billion into a fund to train community college students for high-growth industries.
To offset the increases, the administration proposed raising taxes on all families earning more than $250,000 and requiring households with annual income of more than $1 million to pay at least 30 percent to the IRS.
The Pentagon budget, at $525 billion, is 1 percent lower than last year - the first proposed reduction since the end of the Cold War. Texas would lose jobs if Obama succeeds in cutting $15 billion from the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, which is built partially in Fort Worth.
But the budget includes $80 million for continued building of an ambulatory hospital at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and $207 million for hospital construction at Fort Bliss near El Paso.
Contributing to this report were Stewart M. Powell, Gary Martin and Dan Freedman of the Washington bureau.
Obama's budget would cut NASA, Pentagon and cost of jailing immigrants - Houston Chronicle
If a man sneaks into your home he is a burglar, not an undocumented tenant you must provide for!
- 02-14-2012, 08:56 AM #2slash reimbursements to local governments for the cost of jailing illegal immigrants guilty of crimes"Too bad ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation." Henry Kissinger
- 02-14-2012, 09:00 AM #3
However, the budget does provide funds for this:
The White House announced plans on Monday to help "Arab Spring" countries swept by revolutions with more than $800 million in economic aid, while maintaining U.S. military aid to Egypt.
In his annual budget message to Congress, President Barack Obama asked that military aid to Egypt be kept at the level of recent years -- $1.3 billion -- despite a crisis triggered by an Egyptian probe targeting American democracy activists.
Financial aid to Egypt while they are holding American citizens hostage. Shows where this President's priorities lie."A Nation of sheep will beget a government of Wolves" -Edward R. Murrow