The President's budget for fiscal year 2015 adds up to $3.9 trillion
Mental health, AIDS prevention, unemployment benefits addressed
Some programs, including abstinence education, received no funding
The battle over the budget often revolves around politically partisan issues of taxes and spending. But President Barack Obama’s proposed spending plan for the next fiscal year totals $3.9 trillion so there’s a lot that can be overlooked. We read the budget plan so you didn’t have to.
Here’s what else is in it:
Lessons learned? The State Department would receive $4.6 billion to protect staff at consulates and embassies overseas. It’s a recommendation from the Benghazi Accountability Review Board after the deadly attacks that killed four Americans in 2012.
Mental health: As mental health has received increased attention after multiple mass shootings in recent years, the budget outlines $75 million for mental health programs specifically for youth and young adults.
Mass violence: To prevent mass shootings, $10 million is proposed to train local law enforcement to respond to mass shootings. Some of that money is for a public awareness campaign to prevent such events.
Compounding pharmacies: After a Massachusetts pharmacy that mixed its own medication was found to be the source of a meningitis outbreak, it was realized that compounding pharmacies slide under the radar. This budget provides $25 million for the Food and Drug Administration to inspect the facilities.
From welfare to work: It’s true. Obama receives a lot of flak from political adversaries for bolstering the nanny state and creating a culture of dependency. In this budget, he proposes to “redirect” $602 million to a program that works with employers to provide subsidized employment opportunities for low-income people.
Unemployment benefits: While the President proposes an increase in federal unemployment benefits, he would also invest $3 billion to ensure people who received disability insurance benefits don’t also receive unemployment benefits as well. Perhaps another item where Republicans and Democrats can reach common ground?
Airport lines: The budget proposal would direct the Transportation Security Administration to focus its resources on high-risk passengers and make it easier for low-risk passengers to pass through airport security check points. “TSA will improve the customer experience while enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of its screening operators,” the budget document says.
More prisons? The United States locks up more people per capita than any other country. To accommodate the massive number of prisoners, the President proposed $8.4 billion “to continue bringing newly completed, or acquired, prisons on line.”
Military sexual assault: While New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been unsuccessful in passing her legislation that would reform how the military handles incidences of sexual assault, the President includes some of her proposals in his budget aimed at “eliminating sexual assault from the military.” He calls for a “full-scale review” of changes by December.
Nine to five or six or seven: The Department of Labor would receive $41 million for 300 new investigators to ensure that employers follow wage and overtime laws.
International AIDS: The President proposes an additional $300 million to the $1.35 billion budgeted to fund AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria prevention around the world.
Illness in the U.S.: This budget prioritizes the accelerated development “of a universal flu vaccine.”
Flat-line: The President makes some cuts to federal programs, including eliminating funding for grants for abstinence-only education.
The feds’ customer services: Speaking of customer service, $100 million would be spent to “significantly improve Internet and in-person services at the Social Security Administration. Another $150 million would “further reduce wait times and enhance services for the public.”
So-long penny. And the nickel? The Treasury Department is taking on a major review of the use of coins in U.S. currency. It “will result in the development of alternative options for the penny and the nickel.”
The not-so-secret life of bees: It’s widely known that bees are disappearing. What’s not known is the reason. The President dedicates $50 million worth of public-private research grants and preservation for bee habitats.