Obama budget projected to add $6T to debt

Obama budget projected to add $6T to debt
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President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request would add nearly $6 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Thursday.

This is slightly more than the $5.7 trillion shortfall that the president’s budget projected for the 10-year window, but the CBO estimate is less than the $6.6 trillion it said the president’s previous budget would add to the deficit over 10 years.

If Congress approved Obama’s budget request, submitted in early February, CBO says the deficit in 2016 would fall to $380 billion—much less than the $455 billion projected under current law.

CBO said the president’s policies would achieve $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. The following components of the budget below would have the most significant effects on spending, taxes and the deficit, the agency said.

Funding for military operations, including those in Afghanistan: Under current law, CBO estimates that average annual overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding would be $74 billion through 2025. Obama’s budget makes a request of $58 billion in funding for the next year, which CBO estimates would end up saving $532 billion over the next decade.

Immigration reform: Obama asked Congress to pass the bipartisan immigration reform bill approved by the Senat in 2013. CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that the legislation would reduce the deficit by $158 billion.

Increase in income tax receipts: Obama’s budget proposes to cap the reduction in tax liability that results from exclusions and deductions at 28 percent. That change would increase taxes by $526 billion over the next 10 years, CBO and JCT projected.

Medicare spending decreases: Changes to Medicare requested in the budget would decrease federal spending by $240 billion over the next decade, CBO said.

Obama’s budget called on Congress to breach sequestration spending limits for at least the next fiscal year and to raise $320 billion in revenue by taxing large financial companies and the wealthy.

Republicans declared his blueprint—the second-to-last of his presidency—dead on arrival because of the spending and tax hikes. 

GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate are scheduled to mark up separate budget blueprints next week and vote on them the last full week of March.

CBO’s report is likely the last major one compiled under Director Doug Elmendorf, whose term expired in January.

Republicans recently announced that Keith Hall will be the agency’s next director. Hall, who served in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, will begin on April 1.

This story was updated at 11:57 a.m.