The Parts of Obama's Budget That May Actually Get Passed

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Everyone agrees that much of President Obama's 2013 budget is dead-on-arrival in Congress but some aspects of the White House fiscal plan actually stand a chance in the Republican-controlled House. It's not likely the president's call for $476 billion in transportation projects or his transfer of Iraq war funds for domestic projects (Republicans call that an "accounting gimmick") will survive. But here are the provisions the administrations may have the muscle or bipartisan support to push through:

Tax reform One major point of leverage the White House has this election year is the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. As an administration official tells The Wall Street Journal, "because the economy will be stronger in late 2012 than it was in 2010, Mr. Obama's threat to let taxes rise for everyone will be more credible this time." The Washington Post's Ezra Klein agrees, saying the Bush tax cuts make reforms "more likely than it would otherwise be." The president is certain to face staunch opposition over his provision to raise the minimum tax rate for millionaires to 30 percent but it's possible a deal could be made on closing loopholes for corporations. 

Cuts Politico's David Rogers outlines a series of cuts that could gain bipartisan support. "The Environmental Protection Agency would be trimmed further to $8.34 billion — its third straight series of cuts. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration would receive less this year than last. Biomedical research funds would be frozen at $30.7 billion at the National Institutes of Health. And all the real growth in the Food and Drug Administration’s $4.48 billion budget would be dependent on new industry user fees, including a proposed $220 million food establishment charge that could prove controversial." Additionally, NASA is also lined up for cuts. 

Small projects It's still wishful thinking but the White House tells Damian Paletta and Laura Meckler at The Journal that modest projects such as "small-business tax cuts or restraining college costs, still could find traction in Congress if Republicans are looking for achievements to point to ahead of the election."

Payroll tax holiday A deal already being hammered out in Congress is a longer extension of the payroll tax holiday and an extension of unemployment compensation. “I do believe this will be extended,” Representative Paul Ryan said on ABC's This Week. At the moment, The New York Times reports that "the two sides are split over how to offset the cost of the package, but lawmakers who worked over the weekend reported making progress."

Freezes Alongside a budget freeze of the National Institutes of Health, Politico reports that a near-freeze for the Department of Interior (affecting the National Park Service) is on the table.


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.