WASHINGTON (Feb. 10, 2016) — President Barack Obama released a record $4.1 trillion budget proposal Feb. 9, and reactions ran predictably according to political affiliations.
“The Budget makes critical investments in our domestic and national security priorities while adhering to the bipartisan budget agreement signed into law last fall,” according to a summary of the fiscal 2017 budget released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Among other things, the 2017 budget would lift sequestration, or mandatory spending cuts, in 2018 and beyond “so that we continue to invest in our economic future and our national security,” the OMB summary said.
The Obama budget plan would invest $320 billion over 10 years to create a clean transportation system that would expedite the movement of goods to market while reducing the use of oil, cutting carbon pollution and addressing climate change, the OMB said.
One of President Obama's transportation proposals would place a $10-per-barrel tax on petroleum to replenish the Highway Trust Fund.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the budget plan “charts a new course for growth.” But House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., joined with his GOP colleagues in swearing they would never seriously consider any portion of the Obama budget.
“President Obama will leave office having never proposed a budget that balances — ever,” Rep. Ryan said. “The President's oil tax alone would raise the average cost of gasoline by 24 cents per gallon, while hurting jobs and a major sector of our economy. Americans deserve better.”
Dorothy Coleman, vice president of tax and domestic economic policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, denounced both the oil tax and also the administration's proposal to repeal certain energy tax breaks for business.
“These and other business tax increases fall far short of what is needed to achieve meaningful reform, ensuring that the U.S. economy to continue to struggle,” Ms. Coleman said.
Pete Ruane, president and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, had different reasons for criticizing the Obama budget.
“The president's FY 2017 transportation budget proposal is an explicit admission that he and the Congress did not provide long-term sustainability for Highway Trust Fund programs when they enacted the FAST (Fixing America's Surface Transportation) Act in December,” Mr. Ruane said.
The $10-per-barrel tax on oil, he said, “is exactly the type of solution that is necessary going forward. Unfortunately, the game was played last year and the president was AWOL.
“Speaker Ryan's knee-jerk, dismissive reaction to the president's proposal is similarly not helpful,” he added. “Where is his long-term funding solution for the nation's highway and transit programs?”