02:12 GMT20 September 2020
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    US President to submit a $4 trillion budget proposal for 2016 to a Republican-controlled Congress on Monday.

    WASHINGTON, February 2 (Sputnik) — US President Barack Obama will submit a $4 trillion budget proposal for 2016 to a Republican-controlled Congress on Monday that will include increased spending in areas such as middle-class economic policies, precision medicine, infrastructure and national security, along with increased taxes on the wealthy, which Republicans are expected to strongly oppose.

    Budget stand-off looms

    Obama's budget, which is projected to include $3.9 trillion in total expenditures and $3.5 trillion in revenues, leaving an annual deficit of $467 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), will likely face stiff resistance from Republicans who are against spending, deficits and tax increases.

    The US president and Congress must come to an agreement on a fiscal budget or else the US government could face another partial shutdown of operations as it did in 2013.

    "To make these common-sense investments in our future without adding to our deficits, we need to turn the page on the manufactured crises that have defined the debates over our budget in recent years. Our recovery was held back when Congress shut down the government and risked the full faith and credit of the United States. We can't afford to do that again," Obama said in a blog post on Friday.

    Obama's budget also calls for doing away with a budget reduction mechanism called sequestration, put in place as part of a reluctant compromise between the White House and Capitol Hill in 2011, which automatically cuts defense and domestic programs based on set limits.

    "If Congress rejects my plan and refuses to undo these arbitrary cuts, it will threaten our economy and our military," Obama stressed.

    Middle class economics

    Improving middle-class economics will be a central focus of the 2016 budget, including investments in free community-college education, paid leave of absence, childcare, workforce training and middle-class tax cuts.

    Obama also wants to reward businesses that invest in America, boost the manufacturing sector and help middle-class workers of all ages to upgrade their skills to earn higher wages.

    The president's proposed middle-class tax cuts would be funded by increasing taxes on the rich, which includes closing tax loopholes for special interests and trust funds.

    The president struck a defiant tone in defense of his middle-class economic policies and sent a strong message to Republicans during his weekly radio address on Saturday.

    "If they [Republicans] have ideas that will help middle-class families feel some economic security, I'm all in to work with them. But I will keep doing everything I can to help more working families make ends meet and get ahead," Obama said.

    Precision medicine

    The US president also wants to invest $215 million in a precision medicine initiative that uses cutting-edge science to find new treatments for diseases like diabetes and cancer, Obama announced on Friday. This includes working with the National Cancer Institute to find genetic factors that can lead to cancer.

    "Every dollar we spend to map the human genome has already returned $140 to our economy, there is a huge economic stake in us tapping into this innovation," Obama said, stressing that the most important impact these investments may have "cannot be measured in dollars".

    Defense spending

    Obama will propose to spend $534 billion on national security, nearly 14 percent of the overall budget, which is already $35 billion over congressionally-mandated limits, according to the White House. Over the last five years, the US military budget has been reduced from a peak of nearly $700 billion in 2010, according to Pentagon figures.

    The Pentagon plans on making significant investments in new technologies, weapons and capabilities including nuclear development, space control capabilities, high energy lasers, missile defense and cyber-security, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Bob Work, said on Wednesday.

    Work also mentioned that restrictions on defense spending are worrisome especially in light of the fact that US competitors around the world have increased security investments considerably since 2001.

    "China's defense budget has [had] double-digit growth nearly every year over the past decade. And both Russia and China are fielding very advanced capabilities at an extremely rapid pace," Work said.

    The largest portion of the budget is dedicated to what is referred to as "mandatory spending", which are ongoing payments that don't require annual authorization by Congress, including areas such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment checks and pensions for veterans and government workers.

    The presidential budget legally amounts to suggestions or guidance on spending, considering the US Constitution gives Congress the power to determine how to spend taxpayer dollars. In response to Obama's proposal, Congress will send its version of a budget to the White House, which the president then has to sign-off on.

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