President's Budget to Exceed Spending Caps

Recent reports have indicated that President Obama's FY 2015 budget request, due next week, will again propose spending levels above allowed limits established by Congress. The current FY 2015 discretionary cap stands at $1.014 trillion, only slightly above FY 2014 levels. The Administration will propose a budget that meets that cap, plus $56 billion in additional spending under what is being called the "Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative." The additional sum would be split between defense and nondefense functions, and would include funding for advanced manufacturing institutes, preschool education, and other items. The additional defense funding would go towards military readiness. It has also been reported that the Department of Defense budget will continue to exceed the spending caps in future years.

The Administration has said the new spending will be fully paid for, but has not identified how. The budget will also reportedly drop one controversial proposal that would have trimmed Social Security benefits. The move was met with a positive reception by some lawmakers who recently wrote to the White House urging protections for major federal entitlement programs. According to a recent analysis by the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program, transfer payment programs have particularly benefited from long-term cuts to defense spending, while federal investments in research, education, and infrastructure have actually declined as a share of the budget.