FEATURED:

Obama's budget $74B above caps

President Obama will propose in his 2016 budget request to raise discretionary spending by $74 billion above the caps in sequestration, a White House official said Thursday.

Obama, who will formally unveil his next budget blueprint on Monday, will ask Congress to increase discretionary spending by 7 percent above caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011. 

“This includes $530 billion on the nondefense discretionary side, an increase of $37 billion over the spending caps, and $561 billion in defense spending, an increase of $38 billion over the spending caps,” the White House official said. 

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The president proposed relieving sequestration for fiscal 2015 and 2016 in last year's budget. A budget deal passed by Congress in December 2013 eased the automatic spending cuts for last year and the rest of this year through September. 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the budget “the beginning of a negotiation” but argued it was an important marker for the president’s priorities.

“Budgets are important because they're a way that we can codify our values and our priorities,” Earnest said.

The White House spokesman said that as the administration engages with Congress, officials would seek a one-to-one match when easing cuts to defense and domestic spending.

“That certainly is consistent with the kind of agreement that's been reached in previous budget negotiations over the last several years,” Earnest said. “And that certainly seems a principle that seems worthwhile.”

The White House has gradually been releasing items that will appear in the budget request, including funding to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Part of the request will include a proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy and large financial institutions, and provide tax breaks to the middle class.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg News reported the president will ask Congress for 20 percent less in funding for the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund, commonly known as war spending. 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.

With Republicans in charge of Congress, Obama’s blueprint is almost certainly dead on arrival.

The chairman of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), has talked in recent weeks about the need to cut discretionary spending and oppose tax hikes. He has also said he’d like to maintain the sequestration budget caps for fiscal 2016 but possibly remove the firewall between defense and nondefense spending to move more money over to the Pentagon. 

If Congress appropriates more than those limits and doesn't honor Obama’s request, automatic spending cuts could take effect across the government.

Updated at 2:30 p.m.

Justin Sink contributed.