Obama sends US Congress a record $4.1 trillion 2017 spending plan

Copies of the President Barack Obama's fiscal 2017 federal budget.Copies of the President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2017 federal budget.US President Barack Obama sent Congress on Tuesday, February 9, his eighth and final budget, proposing to spend a record $4.1 trillion on initiatives that include launching a new fight against cancer, combating global warming and facing growing threats from extremists like the Islamic State group.

The new spending plan for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 is facing heavy fire from Republicans who hope to capture the White House. The proposal had dim prospects of winning approval in a Republican-controlled Congress.

Obama’s budget would increase taxes by $2.6 trillion over the coming decade, nearly double the $1.4 trillion in new taxes Obama sought and failed to achieve in last year’s budget.

Republican lawmakers said Obama’s proposal to impose a $10 per barrel tax on crude oil to bring in an additional $319 billion over the next decade had no chance of winning approval in Congress. Obama’s budget would use that money to fund billions of dollars in alternative transportation programs as part of efforts to deal with global warming.

“This isn’t even a budget so much as it is a progressive manual for growing the federal government at the expense of hardworking Americans,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Even with the increased taxes, Obama’s budget projects sharply higher deficits in coming years, totaling $9.8 trillion over the next decade.

Much of the problem relates to the surge in spending on the government’s big benefit programs of Social Security and Medicare, which are forecast to soar with the retirement of millions of baby boomers.

The budget sees the economy growing at a 2.6 percent rate this year, though administration officials noted that projection was finalized in November, prior to the recent stock market slide. Inflation would remain low, registering a 1.5 percent gain this year.

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