President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget will reverse the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration and propose a 7% increase in spending above those limits, according to White House officials.
The budget plan, which the White House intends to unveil on Monday, would fund a host of programs that Republicans are unlikely to support, Reuters reports. But Obama is hoping he can find common ground with Congress to prevent sequester cuts from going back into full force when the next fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.
“The president will propose to end the across-the-board sequester cuts that threaten our economy and our military,” Reuters quoted a White House official as saying. “The … budget will fully reverse those cuts for domestic priorities, and match those investments dollar-for-dollar with the resources our troops need to keep America safe.”
The proposed spending increase includes $530 billion in non-defense discretionary spending, which is $37 billion above the sequester caps, and $561 billion in defense outlays, which is $38 billion above the caps.
Following through on Obama’s State of the Union address, the budget will also propose raising taxes on the wealthy to cover tax credits and educational programs for the middle class. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said that would not fly.
“Republicans believe there are smarter ways to cut spending than the sequester and have passed legislation to replace it multiple times, only to see the president continue to demand tax hikes,” Cory Fritz told Reuters. “Until he gets serious about solving our long-term spending problem, it’s hard to take him seriously.”
In an op-ed for The Huffington Post, Obama said if Congress refuses to undo the sequestration cuts, it will threaten the nation’s economy and military. “Investments in key areas will fall to their lowest level in ten years, adjusted for inflation, putting American research, education, infrastructure, and national security at risk,” he warned.
With the nation’s economic recovery accelerating and the budget deficit on the decline, CNN reported, the White House is eager to engage in a debate with Republicans over what it calls “the era of manufactured crises and mindless austerity.”