The Budget: First Glance
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.
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