After years of fiscal austerity, the White House is ready to open the checkbook. While spending at the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments would remain flat under the Obama administration’s 2016 budget proposal, most agencies would see their budgets grow—substantially in some cases. Among departments and large agencies, only the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Small Business Administration would experience significant cuts. The Commerce, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Labor and State departments all would see double-digit percentage increases; Defense and Veterans Affairs also would see significant spending increases.
The budget is aimed squarely at building an economy to shore up the middle class, something President Obama previewed in his State of the Union address two weeks ago. In a message that accompanied the release of budget documents Monday, Obama provided more detail about his vision for reshaping government to deliver on his economic ambitions:
The budget includes initiatives to improve the service we provide to the American public; to leverage the federal government’s buying power to bring more value and efficiency to how we use taxpayer dollars; to open government data and research to the private sector to drive innovation and economic growth; to promote smarter information technology; and, to attract and retain the best talent in the federal workforce. The budget includes proposals to consolidate and reorganize government agencies to make them leaner and more efficient, and it increases the use of evidence and evaluation to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely on programs that work.
He also noted that climate change is directly hitting the government’s bottom line, “as worsening climate impacts create Government liabilities.” As such, the budget proposal includes funding to reduce carbon pollution, implement strategies to help communities mitigate the impacts of climate change, and support American leadership abroad on the issue.