President Barack Obama proposed his last budget of his presidency Tuesday, releasing a $4.1 trillion spending plan for the 2017 fiscal year.
"The budget that we're releasing today reflects my priorities and the priorities that I believe will help advance security and prosperity in America for many years to come," Obama said. "It adheres to last year's bipartisan budget agreement. It drives down the deficit. It includes smart savings on health care, immigration, tax reform."
Obama's budget plan calls for, among other things, $19 billion for cybersecurity, $1 billion for cancer research and $1.1 billion for drug abuse treatment efforts. Revenue proposals include a $10 tax per oil barrel and taxes on the wealthy. Under the budget, the deficit would go from $616 billion to $503 billion in the next fiscal year, which starts October 1.
Republicans are balking at Obama's budget plan, with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI,1) calling it "a progressive manual for growing the federal government at the expense of hardworking Americans."
Obama's budget would give federal employees a 1.6 percent pay increase. It also seeks to provide federal employees with six weeks of paid paternal leave.
The American Federation of Government Employees, which supports Obama's paid paternal leave proposal, wants a higher wage bump of 5.3 percent for federal employees.
"Federal employees have been given the short end of the stick for far too long. It's time to start giving back to the workers who give so much to our country," AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement. "We are sick and tired of pay freezes and pathetic penny ante raises. We are sick and tired of falling behind inflation and further behind private-sector pay. We're not asking for any special treatment, just the pay increases we are owed after six years of low to no pay increases."
The president's budget plan also includes funding for the Chicago Transit Authority's Red-Purple Modernization Program, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today.
Specifically, Obama's budget puts $125 million toward Phase 1 of the transportation project. The project's first phase involves the reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr "L" stops, improved track structure and viaducts and "the construction of a rail bypass north of Belmont station to increase rail capacity and alleviate train congestion," according to Emanuel's office.
Another $156 million in federal funding for the project was also allocated today by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The CTA will receive that money if the Federal Transit Administration approves "a full-funding agreement" Chicago is seeking for the project.
"Chicago's future depends on our ability to continue modernizing and improving a 21st century transportation system that keeps up with our growing economy and creates local jobs," Emanuel said in a statement. "I thank President Obama for his leadership and commitment to investment in one of the nation's busiest rail corridors. I'm also very grateful to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for recognizing the importance of this project and the jobs and transit improvements it will bring to the Chicago region."