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Obama Sends $4.1 Trillion Spending Plan to Congress

by Halimah Abdullah /  / Updated 
Image: Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, Friday.Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

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President Barack Obama sent a $4.1 trillion spending proposal for the fiscal year 2017 to Congress on Tuesday— the final White House budget of his term in office.

The proposal focused on such priorities as cybersecurity, fighting Islamic State and raising taxes on wealthy Americans and while funding programs to help the poor.

Even before the president sent the proposals, several Republicans called the president's budget a "wish list' and declared it dead on arrival. They even took the unusual step of not inviting White House budget director Shaun Donovan to brief about the proposal.

Related: Republicans Decline to Hear President's Budget

The budget for the fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1 is largely a political document and is unlikely to be passed by the Republican-controlled Congress.

"President Obama will leave office having never proposed a budget that balances—ever. This isn’t even a budget so much as it is a progressive manual for growing the federal government at the expense of hardworking Americans," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement.

Obama and Ryan agree on some anti-poverty policies, but the general differences between the two parties are vast, particularly in a presidential election year.

Republicans particularly oppose the White House proposal of a $10-a-barrel fee on oil to fund clean transportation projects.

Related: Obama to Propose $10-Per-Barrel Fee on Oil

However, the budget gives Obama, a Democratic president leaving office in January, a chance to make a last pitch for funding on issues such as education, criminal justice reform and job creation while taking credit for U.S. economic strides during his tenure.

The spending proposal stayed within the confines of an agreement reached between the White House and Congress last year that lifted mandatory "sequestration" cuts on both defense and domestic spending.

It proposes lifting the limits entirely from 2018.

"My budget makes critical investments while adhering to the bipartisan budget agreement I signed into law last fall," Obama wrote in the budget document. "It also drives down deficits and maintains our fiscal progress through smart savings from health care, immigration, and tax reforms."

The proposed budget envisions a deficit of $503 billion in fiscal 2017 after a $616 billion budget gap in the current fiscal year ending on Sept. 30.

It seeks to cut deficits by $2.9 trillion over 10 years largely through shrunken tax breaks for wealthy earners, new savings in Medicare healthcare, and assumptions that adoption of its policies would boost economic growth.

Over 10 years, deficits would average 2.5 percent of U.S. economic output, compared to about 4.0 percent in the Congressional Budget Office's estimate, which is based on current laws.

Related: Obama Seeks $1 Billion to Fight Drug Abuse

Congress can advance elements of the budget without endorsing the entire proposal.

Obama met with his national security team to discuss cyber security late Tuesday morning and briefly commented on the budget at the end of the meeting.

"The budget we are releasing today reflects my priorities and the priorities I believe will help advance the security and prosperity of America," Obama said.

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