Obama’s final budget of more than $4 trillion expectedly faces a hostile Republican front

By Staff Writer

Feb 10, 2016 02:46 AM EST

Barrack Obama releases the eighth and his final budget of more than $4 trillion for the fiscal year 2017, which has been expectedly opposed by his opposition, the Republican-led Congress. While the plan lays out the familiar tax hikes, the president has also fitted in some liberal-leaning initiatives meant to strengthen the country's position in the long run.

The budget, already facing hostile comments, will be released on Tuesday. Not the one to "trim his sails" in the final year of presidency, Obama did not hesitate to include, among others, $583 billion for 2017 Pentagon spending; $40 billion for defense - aimed at improving underwater defense mechanisms to counter rising threats by Russia and China; $74 billion for war funds; and $19 billion for cybersecurity, the 35% increase reflecting the country's compensatory move to make up for the embarrassing Chinese cyber invasion that compromised private information of millions of Americans. But as per Bloomberg, the most criticized point is his 'Global Climate Change Initiative' for which $1.3 billion has been proposed by the president.

The budget projects that the deficit would increase to $616 billion in this fiscal year from last year's $438 billion, as Mr. Obama will make some tax cuts permanent law in December. This brings the deficit percentage to 3.3% of country's output, which exceeds the economists' 3% threshold for a growing economy, according to The New York Times.

To offset the deficit to some extent, the president has proposed a 10-year savings plan that mainly focuses on increased tax for wealthy people and businesses along with the much-talked-about $10-a-barrel fee on crude oil.

"We're going to impose a tax on a barrel of oil - imported, exported - so that some of that revenue can be used for transportation, some of that revenue can be used for the investments in basic research and technology that's going to be needed for the energy sources of the future," Obama said, as stated in CBC News. "Then 10 years from now, 15 years from now, 20 years from now, we're going to be in a much stronger position when oil starts getting tight again, prices start going up again."

Although the deficits are anticipated to again rise with aging population and retiring citizens, the Obama administration believes the annual deficits would not cross the 3% threshold through 2026.

At his budget event, the president spoke of the economic reform programs and progress that America has made over the years.  "We've made a lot of progress over the past seven years on our economy," he said at the White House. "Unemployment is down. Deficits are down. Gas prices are down. Job creation, wages, the rate of Americans with health coverage are all up," and added, "America is as strongly positioned as any country on earth to take advantage of the opportunities of the 21st century."

His statements have instantly invited scathing remarks from the Republicans who were waiting to oppose any move made by the African-American president. "This budget joins his others by placing America on a fiscal path that is unsustainable and threatens our long-term economic growth," said Senator Michael B. Enzi, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin has dismissed Mr. Obama's budget plans as "a progressive manual for growing the federal government at the expense of hard-working Americans," adding that oil tax alone will adversely impact gasoline prices.

Even before the document got released, the House and Senate budget committees announced they would not entertain the White House budget director Shaun Donovan to explain the president's priorities, to which he is legally entitled. While the Obama administration wanted to join hands with the Congress for the greater good of the country, their suggestions fell on deaf ears. Some of these initiatives were cancer research, the battle against the Islamic state, and enhanced medical assistance for drug and opioid addicts.

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