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The Budget: First Glance

By Ed O'Keefe
2010 Budget
Copies of President Obama's first proposed budget on display earlier today.

Updated 12:02 p.m. ET

The Eye and his colleagues will spend most of today reviewing President Obama's first federal budget proposals. Already we know that it will include an additional $250 billion that could be used to bail out struggling banks, and that the total spending plan will bring the 2009 budget deficit to a soaring $1.75 trillion.

Remember, as Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said this morning, what the Obama administration releases today "is an overview. There is more to come overtime as we continue to examine what works and what doesn’t.”

Below find a few first thoughts from The Eye's quick read-through. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below:

This is a very Democratic budget: Obama fulfills several campaign promises, including increases in foreign assistance, refocusing the missions of the Justice and Homeland Security departments and ending tax cuts for wealthy Americans. Several government departments and agencies all but ignored or underfunded during the Bush administration -- Bureau of Prisons and EPA for example -- get big proposed funding boosts.

Federal Worker pay increase: Only two percent. "As families are tightening their belts in this economic crisis across the country, the President ordered a freeze of White House senior staff pay. In this budget, Federal employees also will be asked to do their part: the 2010 pay increase for Federal civilian employees, 2.0 percent, is responsive to the current economic climate, bringing Federal pay and benefit practices more in line with the private sector." Let's See how the federal workers unions spin that news. UPDATE: AFGE President John Gage has issued a statement: “Although federal employees would prefer to have seen an increase in pay the equivalent to the military, we recognize the severity of our nation’s economic situation, including the crisis for public workers at the state and local level, and understand that only modest steps can be taken this year to close the remaining pay gap between the federal and non-federal salaries."

Public Service: Anything and everything related to it gets a big boost. For example: "The budget would set AmeriCorps on a path to expand from its current 75,000 funded slots to 250,000, and would ensure the availability of service opportunities to achieve demonstrable results." There's also funding to expand Peace Corps, the Foreign Service, and job and educational opportunities at the Interior Department.

Turn the Lights Off!: The budget calls for modernizing federal buildings and cutting the government's energy bill by 25 percent. "Making substantial investments to reduce Federal energy consumption can spur job creation while delivering long-term Government savings through lower energy bills," the budget reads. It calls for "more than $11 billion provided for building modernization in the recovery Act to achieve the President’s 25 percent energy efficiency improvement goal by 2013."

Chief Performance Officer Details: The document provides a few more details on the still-to-be-named replacement for Nancy Killefer by stating that the White House will work with agency leaders and OMB to "improve results and outcomes for Federal Government programs while eliminating waste and inefficiency." More: "This unit will be composed of top-performing and highly-trained Government professionals and will be headed by a new Chief Performance Officer (CPO). The CPO will work with Federal agencies to set tough performance targets and hold managers responsible for progress. The President will meet regularly with cabinet officers to review the progress their agencies are making toward meeting performance improvement targets."

Much more to come throughout the day... keep tabs on all the budget news on The Washington Post Fed Page.

Read through the budget yourself
then leave your thoughts on it in the comments section below.

The Eye is Twittering!

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 26, 2009; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  Administration  
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Next: Michelle Obama Shares Limelight With EPA Staff


I'm glad to see that Obama is keeping his promises. I hope that the public stays behind him as some of the more difficult environmental provisions kick in. The cap on carbon emissions is going to be very difficult for some people to accept because it will temporarily boost the cost of generating electricity compared to coal and other polluting energy sources.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the new administration succeeds in changing the way Washington works.

Posted by: ThePoliticalObserver | February 26, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

2% for civilian and 2.9% for military? what happened to all of those pro-parity arguments?

it would be better to forego any increase than to set the precedent that we would accept a military increase that is greater than the civilian increase. and, this will not be a one-time occurrence ... the budget problems will last much longer than 1 year. moreover, the .9% is the 'gift that gives on giving' ... and undermines the civilian-military parity argument. besides, the military (at least some) have benefits that civilian employees don't get: housing allowances, PX, free medical for families ...

Posted by: hochkirk | February 26, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I really like the "Shine a Bright Light on Washington Lobbyists" paragraph. We need to know exactly what they are doing.

I think that if the Republicans took more ownership of the problems and adopted a bipartisan approach to resolutions, the President would not have to be so explicit about where the responsibility lies. But with the current leadership (Limbaugh, as near as I can tell) they are not able to be proactive.

Its funny, they exhausted the budget surplus (remember the tax rebate checks they distributed in 2001), doubled the deficit from 2000, raided the Social Security trust fund for $1 trillion, (don't take my word for it, go to the US Treasury Web Site and read the Financial Management Services Report)and now all of a sudden don't want to spend the money it will take to try and get out of this.

I welcome the return to government of, by and for the people, and the return to a Democratic government that is committed to reducing the deficit. And to all of you cynics and naysayers out there, I would remind you of three powerful little words...


Posted by: DCDenizen2 | February 26, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I am guessing that chris is on maternity leave.....

well: ".....stating that the White House will work with agency leaders and OMB to "improve results and outcomes for Federal Government programs while eliminating waste and inefficiency."

Does this mean federal funded programs at the state-level?
How about the states (agencies & directors, etc) that will get the windfall monies and immediately buy red jaquars and $6,000 gold leaf shower curtains?
For those "valuable employment benefits"--all the while stepping on everyone to get said "valuable employment benefit".

Or how about naming me on a federally funded grant that a state agency is applying for --
so I can get a yearly trip to Wash DC on the grant money, get a raise on the grant money, get travel expenses on the grant money --but only show up in the office 3 hours out of 40. I am a consultant of course on the grant, don't ya know!!!

Then, of course, spend that 3 hours a week I show up in the office-- in email, chit chat meetings behind closed doors with the "good girly network of friends", 2 hour lunches....

while the grant and the specific intent of said federally funded grant TO THE STATE gets slaughtered. So much for public servants.

Then, apply for the grant again in 3 years and "doll up" the Executive Summary to the point that I can freeze h##ll over as my next miracle.

The FEDS just gave all the states--the label of Pavlov's dog----
'cause every one of our glorious United States-within their state agencies--- are salivating at the mouth to get the money.

the race is on.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 26, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

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