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2015 Fed Budget – Summary by Agency

Summary of President Obama’s $3.9 trillion budget for 2015

2015 Fed Budget – Summary by Agency

Image courtesy of [patpitchaya] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here is an agency-by-agency summary of President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal 2015, beginning next Oct. 1.

The top-line figures do not include spending on automatic benefit and subsidy programs that together account for 70 percent of government spending. Figures for many of those programs were not provided by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The top-line figures for each agency also omit the $55.4 billion ‘‘opportunity’’ initiative Obama would divide equally between domestic and military programs. An agency-by-agency accounting of that proposed spending was not included in the White House budget documents.

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Agency: Energy

Discretionary spending: $27.9 billon

Percentage change from 2014: 2.6 percent increase

Highlights: Obama again would increase spending for two priorities: clean energy and national security. The budget proposal calls for $11.7 billion for nuclear security, a 4 percent increase over the current budget. Much of that money, $8.3 billion, would go to maintain a nuclear deterrent in a joint program with the Defense Department. About $1.6 billion would go to programs that prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies that could be used by rogue states and terrorist groups. A total of $5.6 billion would go to clean up nuclear waste at Cold War sites across the nation, including one in Washington state used to build the atomic bomb.

The budget includes $2.3 billion to promote efficiency and renewable energy such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower to further reduce US dependence on fossil fuels.

The budget proposal winds down federal funding for a long-delayed project to turn weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear reactors. After a year-long review, the budget would essentially place the South Carolina-based mixed-oxide fuel program, or MOX, on hold while officials continue to evaluate alternative ways to dispose of plutonium. The administration says it remains committed to safe disposition of weapons-grade plutonium under an agreement with Russia. The so-called MOX plant being built at South Carolina’s Savannah River nuclear site has been plagued by years of delays and is billions of dollars over budget.

As he has each year in office, Obama again calls for repealing more than $4 billion per year in tax subsidies to oil, gas and other fossil fuel producers. The plan is likely to meet the same fate as previous proposals, which died without a vote in Congress.

The budget calls for spending $359 million on cutting-edge vehicle technologies, $253 million to develop new biofuels such as ethanol made from switchgrass or other materials and $200 million for a new Energy Security Trust to expand research into electric cars and biofuels to wean automobiles off gasoline. Obama also proposed the Energy Security Trust last year but was rebuffed by Congress.

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Agency: Health and Human Services

Discretionary spending: $73.7 billion

Percentage change from 2014: 7.6 percent decrease

Highlights: Obama’s proposed health care budget supports the rollout of the president’s health care law and lays the groundwork for next year’s open enrollment season, when the administration hopes to have worked out all the bugs in the new insurance system. Fees from insurers will provide a new stream of revenue for online markets that cater to people who don’t have access to health care on the job. The budget includes $25 million over two years to monitor and prevent fraud in the insurance exchanges.

Monday’s budget documents provided little detail on Medicare and Medicaid, the entitlement programs that account for the vast majority of HHS spending. Those specifics will be released later. However, Obama’s plan calls for overall cuts of $402 billion over ten years projected spending on the two giant health care programs. Most of that would come from Medicare. The budget also supports congressional efforts to change the way Medicare pays doctors, emphasizing improved quality. For Medicaid, the budget proposes a one-year extension of higher payments for primary care practitioners.

The Medicare cuts are expected to be heavy on recycled and updated versions of previous proposals. They include higher premiums on affluent beneficiaries for outpatient care and prescription drug coverage, and a raft of changes that would squeeze service providers.

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Agency: Homeland Security

Discretionary spending: $38.2 billion

Percentage change from 2014: 2.8 percent decrease

Highlights: Obama’s proposed homeland security budget would provide money to hire 2,000 new Customs and Border Protection officers to work at the country’s ports of entry. The budget also proposes another 2,000 officers whose positions would be funded by user fees. Lawmakers and others have repeatedly complained to the Homeland Security Department that long waits at borders and airports hinders both business and tourism and have repeatedly asked for more border officers.

The president’s budget plan also calls for $124 million to ‘‘support, expand and enhance’’ the E-Verify system employers can use to verify that employees are legally allowed to work in the United States. Obama has continued to push for broad immigration legislation but Republicans have been largely opposed, citing the need for border security before addressing other immigration issues. There have also been calls in recent years from some in Congress to make the use of E-verify mandatory.

The budget proposal also includes $10 million to help train local law enforcement on how to respond to mass shooting and bolster the department’s ‘‘If You See Something, Say Something’’ program as it relates to helping prevent gun violence. President Barack Obama has unsuccessfully pushed for stronger gun control laws in the wake of mass shootings in a Colorado movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.

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Agency: NASA

Discretionary spending: $17.5 billion.

Percentage change from 2014: 0.6 percent decrease.

Highlights: NASA’s budget would essentially remain about the same with a tiny decrease. But if the Obama Administration gets its ‘‘opportunity’’ add-on budget, which is considered not likely, NASA would get an extra $885 million. That would make the space agency’s budget rise by 4.5 percent.

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