Agency-by-agency summary of Obama budget

Wednesday - 3/5/2014, 4:30am EST

The Associated Press

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: Agriculture

Discretionary spending: $22.2 billion

Percentage change from 2014: 7.9 percent decrease

Highlights: The recently-enacted five-year farm bill made some cutbacks to farm subsidies that the Obama administration has called for annually. But the administration would like that reform to go even further by scaling back crop insurance.

The budget proposes around a 15 percent cut in the $9 billion-a-year program, which partially subsidizes both the companies that sell crop insurance and farmer premiums. There will be little appetite for that reform in Congress, however, where funding for crop insurance has been a priority.

The bulk of the USDA budget is food stamps, which cost $80 billion last year, and money for farm subsidies and conservation programs. Together, those so-called mandatory dollars are expected to cost $123 billion on top of the $22.2 billion in discretionary spending, an 8 percent decrease from the 2014 budget year.

The budget would change the way money to fight wildfires is distributed, allowing USDA and the Interior Department to draw funds from a special disaster account when the cost of tackling fires exceeds their annual budget.

The Obama administration also proposed doubling dollars for broadband access the neediest, most rural communities and providing an extra $50 million to strengthen bee and other pollinator habitats. Many of the nation's bees, needed to pollinate crops, have been disappearing in the last decade.

The budget includes extra $295 million not included in the budget numbers that would go to agricultural research, including a new laboratory in Athens, Ga.

USDA shares food safety oversight with the Food and Drug Administration. The Agriculture Department, which oversees meat and eggs, would see about a 1 percent decrease its $1 billion in annual funding. FDA, which oversees most other foods, would get a boost of $24 million to put a new food safety law in place.

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Agency: Commerce

Discretionary spending: $8.8 billion

Percentage change from 2014: 6 percent increase

Highlights: The department budget proposes spending $2 billion on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop its next generation weather satellite systems, which helps NOAA forecast storms and issue warnings on significant changes in weather conditions.

The overall budget also would finance the National Weather Service while closing an ocean science laboratory and consolidating another.

The department oversees an unusual mix of bureaus, from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to the International Trade Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The proposed budget includes funds for the National Institute of Standards and Technology laboratories, SelectUSA, a program to promote economic investment in the United States, and $210 million to the Economic Development Administration.

The Obama administration is proposing $753 million, an increase of $281 million, for research and testing on methods to conduct the 2020 decennial census. The proposal includes a request for $16 million to develop three statistical measures to "improve evidence-based decision-making" in counting the number of people in the U.S., figures that are politically critical in redrawing congressional districts and deciding on a state's number of representatives.

The budget also proposes $5 million for the Census Bureau to measure poverty.

The budget requests $51 million for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and envisions freeing up 500 MHz of spectrum through spectrum auctions. The administration says such a step will increase commercial access to wireless broadband spectrum and estimates a reduction in the deficit of nearly $20 billion over a decade.

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Agency: Defense Department

Discretionary spending: $495.6 billion

Percentage change from 2014: 0.4 percent decrease

Highlights: The Pentagon is proposing to shrink the size of the military, applying a no-growth $495.6 billion budget to modernizing the force in ways that it says will enable the country to meet national security challenges in the aftermath of long and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army would shrink to 440,000-450,000 by 2019, making it the smallest since just before the U.S. entered World War II. The Navy would keep its 11 aircraft carrier strike groups. The Air Force would retire its entire fleet of A-10 "Warthog" close-air support aircraft as well as its U-2 high-altitude spy planes. The Marine Corps would shrink from 190,000 troops to 182,000.

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