President Obama released information today about his proposed budget to Congress. The radical proposal includes an increase in oil taxes, expanding Medicaid, a multi-billion dollar initiative to promote computer science in public k-12 schools, and funding to find a cure for cancer research. The proposals signals the Obama is aggressively attempting to accomplish certain goals before his term is over.
The proposal was unveiled despite Congress’ announcement that they would not even hold hearings on this year’s budget requests. The reason Congress decided not to have hearings is because the request “will continue to focus on new spending” instead of cutting the debt, according to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi, a Republican lawmaker from Wyoming.
Complete details on the projected deficit, total spending proposal, and other information will be released Tuesday morning.
The proposal, which has no chance of passing in Congress this year, is seen by some as a way for President Obama to influence future legislative debates and even current presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
“If the document is legislatively irrelevant,” Orszag said, “you might as well use it to expand the policy dialogue and lay out sensible proposals even if they will not become law this year or next.” This year’s budget proposal “lays the groundwork for Democrats to refine and embrace a more ambitious legislative agenda over time.”
Lame-duck presidential budget requests nearly always receive catcalls from Congress, especially when it’s controlled by the opposite party.
The boldest of all the budget proposals is the $10-a-barrel crude oil tax. Energy taxes are extremely hard to pass. For example, nobody has raised federal gasoline tax since 1993. Although consumers might not pose an aggressive opposition to such a tax increase because of lower gas prices, oil companies might aggressively oppose such an increase because lower gas prices has caused them to reduce workforce and exploration.
The revenue from an increase in crude oil taxes would not go toward reducing the deficit. Instead it would go toward more “clean” forms of transportation such as buses, light rails, and subways. Kevin Brady, House Ways and Means Chairman, immediately labeled the plan as a “horrible idea” and a “waste of time,” and it is expected that even some Democrats in Congress would oppose it.