Agency-by-agency summary of Obama's 2015 proposed budget

Tuesday - 3/4/2014, 2:36pm EST

The Associated Press

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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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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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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EDUCATION:

Discretionary spending: $68.6 billion

Percentage change from 2014: 1.9 percent increase

Highlights: President Barack Obama's goal is to expand high quality early childhood programs. In particular, he's sought to create universal pre-K programs for 4-year-olds.

His budget would provide $1.3 billion to states to roll out "preschool for all" programs aligned with school systems funded by a tobacco tax hike as part of a 10- year, $75 billion plan. The Education Department would share costs with states to provide universal access to low- and moderate-income families and provide incentives to states to serve additional children. Also, it would provide $750 million in grant dollars to support states' efforts to enhance or expand preschool programs -- with $250 million of it coming from the "opportunity" initiative.

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