In His Final Budget, President Obama Lays Out A Progressive Vision For The Future
President Obama released his fiscal year 2017 budget request to Congress today, the last budget of the Obama Administration. The Budget is a bold, forward-looking plan that is meant to help the economy work for everyone, invest in our future, and tackle today’s most pressing problems, such as climate change and economic inequality. It invests in economic growth without making draconian cuts to programs that American families need, all while achieving $2.9 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years.
Below is a look at three important progressive priorities included in President Obama’s budget. For more information on the Budget, read the White House’s fact sheet.
- Promoting opportunity for all and investing in child care. The Budget invests in expanding opportunity, especially for children. It expands access to high-quality early childhood education and child care, which is currently out of reach for many working families and children. To help families paying for child care, it triples the maximum Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which will give working families a huge lift. Additionally, the Budget supports universal preschool through the Preschool for All Initiative. To build on the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, the Budget invests in Title I grants to ensure that all students, including poor and minority students and children with disabilities, graduate high school prepared for college and careers. In response to the growing challenge of student debt, the Budget supports making college more affordable, by making the first two years of community college free and by offering year-round Pell grant availability to low-income students. Finally, the Budget will create more jobs for youth, through its investments in the First Job for Every Young American program.
- Investing in clean energy and climate change solutions. President Obama has already made great strides to promote clean energy and combat climate change. His Clean Power Plan is the most ambitious action yet taken in the United States to slow global warming and will lead to climate and health benefits of up to $93 billion by 2030. In his budget, President Obama went even further to invest in clean energy and climate solutions by doubling our investment in clean energy research and development, furthering supporting the adoption of clean energy, and expanding access to clean energy for all. The Budget also uses a tax on oil to invest in green energy and infrastructure, with an eye toward reducing emissions and modernizing the country’s transportation infrastructure. Additionally, the Budget also includes key investments to build on the historic international climate deal that was reached last year in Paris.
- Investing in the National Cancer Moonshot and other health initiatives. Sequestration eroded investments in medical research and funding to the National Institutes of Health. The President’s budget reverses that erosion and invests $1 billion in the National Cancer Moonshot, an initiative led by Vice President Biden to find the cure for cancer. Additionally, the Budget invests more in expanding access to mental health care and addressing the prescription drug and heroin overdose epidemic.
Finally, the Budget works to create an economy that works for everyone and not just the wealthy few. It invests in training programs for workers, expanding paid leave, supporting economic mobility, investing in high-poverty communities, and strengthening the safety net, by supporting SNAP benefits, affordable housing programs, and programs to end homelessness. It also removes barriers to opportunity for those with criminal records and for people with disabilities.
President Obama’s budget is fiscally responsible policy that invests in everyday Americans. In contrast, past budgets from congressional Republicans have attempted to take the country backward. They would have slashed federal support for education, block granted Medicaid, turned Medicare into a voucher program, and made significant cuts to middle-class and low-income programs.
BOTTOM LINE: President Obama’s budget reflects progressive values that believes in an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few, and that everyone deserves a great education, great job, and to raise their family while feeling financially secure. It invests in working people and families, who drive the economy and make America great.
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