Finance

Obama to push for 7 percent spending hike

President Obama will ask for a 7 percent hike to the federal budget when he presents his blueprint to Congress, Bloomberg News reported Thursday.

Obama will ask for $68 billion more than allowed under budgetary ceilings that are set to return for the next fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1.

His budget would ask for roughly $34 billion more in defense and $34 billion more in nondefense discretionary spending. 

For now, the total discretionary spending cap for the next fiscal year is $1.016 trillion, but Obama’s budget request would breach that cap and bring the total to about $1.018 trillion. 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest sidestepped questions about the report on Thursday, saying he would wait to comment until the full budget document was released and that the Office of Management and Budget was still making last minute “tweaks.”

“We’ll be prepared to talk about the details of that presentation on Monday, Feb. 2 when it’s rolled out,” Earnest said.

A spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget declined to comment.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported the budget will ask for 20 percent less in funding for the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund. The reduction is possible because of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 

The budget would ask for $51 billion in OCO funding, the report said, down from the $64 billion Congress appropriated for the rest of this fiscal year.

The request from Obama could foreshadow a fight over funding between congressional Republicans, who want less government spending, and the administration over the next two years. 

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) has said he wants to keep the $1.016 trillion spending cap in place. The ceiling comes from the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Price has discussed eliminating the wall between defense and nondefense discretionary spending. That would allow Republicans to shift more funding to the Pentagon at the expense of domestic programs.

Justin Sink contributed.

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