Biggest winners and losers in the White House budget

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

President Obama on Tuesday released a $3.9 trillion budget plan that would increase spending and raise taxes taxes in hopes of spurring the economy, reducing deficits and lifting more Americans out of poverty.

The budget proposal is a wish list with virtually no chance of serious consideration from an ideologically divided Congress. Republicans have already rejected the fiscal blueprint as too liberal, but many Democrats are likely to use it as a platform in the upcoming midterm elections.

The White House plan would increase federal discretionary spending by about 2 percent, but not all agencies would see their fortunes rise. In fact, some would receive considerably less funding.

Below is a list of the top executive departments that would lose and gain the most compared to their 2014 discretionary funding levels:


1.) Department of Agriculture: – 7.9 percent

The Obama administration wants to reduce crop-insurance subsidies for farmers and insurance companies by about $14 billion over 10 years.

2.) Health and Human Services: – 7.6 percent

The budget calls for significant cuts to the Preventive Health and Health Services block grant program, which helps states with their leading causes of death and disability. Additionally, funding for the National Institutes of Health would remain roughly flat, despite warnings from the NIH director that research would suffer without a big infusion of additional cash. But the plan would increase spending on AIDS prevention, family planning programs, preschool and mental health services.

3.) Housing and Urban Development: – 3.3 percent

The plan would provide slightly less funding for rental assistance, and discretionary spending for the department would decline from $33.7 billion this year to $32.6 billion in 2015.

4.) Department of Homeland Security: – 2.8 percent

The department would receive $38.2 billion next year, representing a decline from its 2014 level of $39.3 billion. But Obama has called for thousands more border agents, more than half a billion dollars to protect federal computer networks and $10 million to help immigrants work toward citizenship.

5.) Labor Department: -1.7 percent 

The White House proposal would shave $200 million off the department’s 2014 funding level of $12 billion, but it calls for new efforts to provide “reemployment services” to unemployed workers and recently separated veterans, in addition to boosting efforts to enforce laws that protect workers from wage theft by abusive employers.


1.) Department of Commerce: + 6 percent

The budget would focus on initiatives that aim to help regional and small businesses, providing a combined $235 million the the Economic Development Administration and the Regional Innovation Administration.

2.) Veterans Affairs: + 3 percent

Obama wants to dedicate $138.7 million toward a Veterans Claims Intake Program that aims to reform and speed up the processing of disability claims, which have piled up into a massive backlog that the department has struggled to whittle down for years. The administration has also asked for $1.6 billion to help homeless and at-risk veterans.

3.) Department of Energy: + 2.6 percent

The White House has requested a 30 percent increase in funding to manage the nation’s nuclear stockpile. Overall, the department’s budget would increase from $27.2 billion in 2014 to $27.9 billion next year.

4.) Department of Transportation: + 2.2 percent

Obama proposed nearly doubling the funding level for transit systems and intercity passenger rail, from $12.3 billion this year to $22.3 billion in 2015. The blueprint also calls for a $1.25 billion for a grant program that helps states and cities with their transportation needs.

5.) Department of Education: + 1.9 percent

Obama asked for an increase in the federal tobacco tax to help fund a 10-year, $76 billion “preschool for all” program. He also requested nearly $26 billion to help states cover the costs of educating poor and disabled children.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.



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Josh Hicks · March 4, 2014

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