Obama sends Congress $4T 2016 budget

Budget is a 6.4 percent increase from the preceding year

Budget is a 6.4 percent increase from the preceding year

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama sent Congress a $4 trillion budget plan Monday that seeks to improve the fortunes of America’s middle class while raising taxes on its wealthiest citizens.

The budget builds upon what Obama called “middle-class economics” during his Jan. 20 State of the Union address.

“Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well, or are we going to build an economy where everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead?” Obama asked during public remarks at the Department of Homeland Security.

The department’s funding was singled out by lawmakers to run out at the end of February following Obama’s executive actions to shield 5 million undocumented migrants from deportation.

All others were funded normally through the end of September.

Obama's budget for the 2016 budget year that begins Oct. 1 is a 6.4 percent increase from the preceding year, but projects the deficit to fall by nearly $475 billion.

That is in part due to a $2 trillion tax hike largely on the wealthy, a rise on cigarette taxes, and a one-time 14 percent tax on U.S. companies' overseas earnings.

The plan includes a $478 billion public works program to improve America’s roads, bridges and other critical transit infrastructure. It also includes a 7 percent increase over spending limits known as sequestration for nation defense and domestic programs. 

That would see the Pentagon receive $561 billion in funding, some $38 billion over sequestration limits, in part to gird the U.S.-led fight against ISIL, and help check Russia's actions in Ukraine. 

The president is asking for $50.3 billion for U.S. overseas operations and $5.4 billion for international organizations and peacekeeping missions with other nations. It also seek $14 billion for cybersecurity measures.

Obama said the plan is “a broader blueprint for America’s success in this new global economy.”

“The budget I've sent to Congress today is fully paid for through a combination of smart spending cuts and tax reforms,” he said. “We would be making a critical error if we avoided making these investments. We can't afford not to.”

The budget is highly unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Congress, but sets the stage for a months-long showdown between the administration and lawmakers. Any budget that passes Congress will have to be signed into law by Obama.

House Speaker John Boehner quickly struck out at Obama’s budget proposal, which he said fails to address long-term budget deficits.

“Today President Obama laid out a plan for more taxes, more spending, and more of the Washington gridlock that has failed middle-class families,” he said in a statement. “While the president budget’s is about the past, our budget will be about the future.”

Obama also slammed Congress for playing partisan politics by threatening to not fund the Department of Homeland Security. 

“The men and women of America's homeland security apparatus do important work to protect us, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress should not be playing politics with that. We need to fund the department, pure and simple,” he said.

with additional reporting by M. Bilal Kenasari

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