8 highlights of the 2014 federal budget

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President Barack Obama officially released Wednesday the 2014 fiscal year federal budget that includes a 2 percent bump in information technology spending across the government.

In Obama’s proposal, IT spending will increase to approximately $82 billion, which bucks the recent trends the past three years of either flat or slightly declining IT budgets.

To help understand the budget as a whole, FedScoop has highlighted eight key items included in the $3.77 trillion federal budget.

The deficit

The $1.058 trillion budget is not balanced, but according to the White House, it includes $1.8 trillion of deficit reduction over the next decade, bringing the total deficit reduction achieved to $4.3 trillion under the Obama administration. Under this plan, the deficit will be reduced to 2.8 percent of gross domestic product by 2016 with debt declining as a share of the economy. That will be made possible, the White House said, by $2 in spending cuts for every $1 of new revenue created that will come from closing tax loopholes and reduces tax benefits for the country’s wealthiest citizens.

Goodbye, sequestration

The budget would eliminate the sequestration cuts enacted over the final seven months of the current fiscal year, meaning the federal government would return to its pre-sequestration norm of federal money managers having more latitude to disperse funds between different programs and initiatives instead of having to absorb blunt cuts to key agency functions starting next fiscal year. “My budget replaces these cuts with smarter ones, making long-term reforms and eliminating actual waste and programs we don’t need,” Obama said. At its core, the White House said, the budget aims to make critical investments to strengthen the middle class, create jobs and grow the economy while continuing to cut the deficit. The budget also includes an increase to the national minimum wage to $9 per hour.

Defense spending

The budget calls for a proposed defense budget of $526.6 billion in discretionary budget authority. The budget seeks further consolidation of defense infrastructure, instituting a study of possible efficiencies in military treatment facilities, and terminating and restructuring lower-priority and poorly performing weapons programs. However, it is affected by the sequestration cuts of the current fiscal year with cuts to areas such as training, civilian furloughs, deferral of equipment and facility maintenance, and reductions to energy conservation investments and contract inefficiencies.

A modern government

The budget includes a series of new proposals to root out waste and reform and streamline government for modern times. In total, it includes 215 cuts, consolidations and savings proposals, which are projected to save more than $25 billion in 2014, the White House said.

Cuts to the government workforce

Federal employees will be subject to $35 billion in cuts to earned pay and benefits as well as significant reductions over time to federal retirement and disability programs including social security under Obama’s budget proposal.

Innovation

The budget includes a 9 percent bump in nondefense research-and-development spending for technology. Obama’s budget would also provide $1 billion to launch a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country, and it earmarks funding to support high-speed rail projects. There is also $50 billion to fund infrastructure investment, including $40 billion for a “Fix it First” initiative to mend the nation’s aging infrastructure such as roadways and bridges. “We’ll spark new American innovation and industry with cutting-edge research like the initiative I announced to map the human brain,” Obama said.

Going forward

Because Obama delivered the budget two months beyond its planned date, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have constituted their own budget plans. Experts believe it is unlikely the president and congressional leaders will get down to serious negotiations until later this year when the government once again will be confronted with the need to raise its borrowing limit or face the prospect of a first-ever default on the nation’s debt.

Message from Obama

It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation. A growing economy that creates good, middle class jobs—this must be the North Star that guides our efforts. Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills they need to get those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living. This budget seeks to answer each of these questions.

Obama discussed Wednesday the budget and what it means for the nation.

 

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Agencies, Barack Obama, Government IT News, Management & Budget, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Sequestration, White House
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