Wonkbook: Everything you need to know about Obama’s budget

March 5

Updated at 1:45 p.m.

Welcome to Wonkbook, Wonkblog’s morning policy news primer by Puneet Kollipara. To subscribe by e-mail, click here. Send comments, criticism, or ideas to Wonkbook at Washpost dot com. To read more by the Wonkblog team, click here.


(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

First off, let me take a moment to bid farewell to departing Wonkbooker Evan Soltas. Over the course of a year and a half, Evan put together roughly 360 issues of Wonkbook, helping establish it as a must-read newsletter for policy wonks everywhere. I wish him nothing but the best of luck as he joins Ezra Klein’s Project X as an economics writer. You can follow Evan on Twitter at @esoltas.

Evan left some big shoes to fill, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to have a shot at filling them. I take over Wonkbook after having covered a range of subjects since I arrived in Washington in 2011, from politics to public policy to transportation to energy to environmental issues to science. I’m really looking forward to summing up the day’s policy news for you all. You can follow me on Twitter at @pkollipara.

With that, here’s today’s Wonkbook:

Wonkbook's Number of the Day: $3.9 trillion. That's the size of President Obama’s proposed budget for the 2015 fiscal year.

Wonkbook's Chart of the Day: Two charts you need to see to understand Obama’s new budget.

Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: (1) Everything you need to know about Obama’s budget (2) Most of the budget isn’t going anywhere (3) U.S. hits back at Putin, preps sanctions and Ukraine aid (4) Health care dilemmas for both sides (5) Same-sex marriage keeps grabbing steam.

1. Top story: Everything you need to know about Obama’s budget.

Obama budget seeks new spending, new taxes to boost economy, tame debt. “President Obama unveiled an ambitious budget blueprint Tuesday that seeks more than $600 billion in fresh spending to boost economic growth but also pledges to tame the national debt by raising taxes on the wealthy, slashing payments to health providers and overhauling the nation's immigration laws. The request sent to Congress offers a smorgasbord of liberal policy ideas in a year when riling up the Democratic base and drawing a vivid contrast with Republicans are critical to Obama's hopes of preserving his party's imperiled majority in the Senate.” Zachary Goldfarb in The Washington Post.

Read: The full text of Obama’s proposed 2015 budget.

Explainers:

Seven things you absolutely need to know about Obama’s budget.

The two charts you need to see to understand Obama’s new budget.

 It’s budget day, but don’t believe everything you read in the budget!

Interactive: Why presidents often don’t get the budgets they want, in one amazing chart

White House: Expanded earned income tax credit could help 13.5 million. “President Obama on Tuesday will propose expanding the earned income tax credit to millions of low-income workers without children, a move the White House hopes can benefit more than 13 million workers who live at or just above the federal poverty line….The proposal would give 7.7 million workers a larger earned income tax credit, while 5.8 million workers currently ineligible for the credit would be able to get at least some money back. The White House also wants to expand the age range of those eligible to receive the credit.” Reid Wilson in The Washington Post.

Obama budget projects strongest growth since 2005. Gross domestic product will expand 3.1 percent in 2014 after rising 1.9 percent last year, the administration said in forecasts accompanying its 2015 budget plan released today in Washington. The jobless rate will average 6.9 percent this year, compared with 7.4 percent last year, and average 6.4 percent in 2015, according to estimates based on information as of mid-November. The $3.9 trillion spending request anticipates an accelerating economy that’s boosting employment while moving up inflation to levels unlikely to concern Federal Reserve policy makers. Kasia Klimasinska in Bloomberg.

Department-by-department breakdown:

Dept. of Agriculture: "The Agriculture Department would lose roughly $938 million under the fiscal 2015 budget proposal, receiving $23.7 billion in discretionary funding. New initiatives for the agency — which has a diverse mission that includes food safety, agriculture and economic development in rural communities — include a boost in funding for broadband access to rural communities and the creation of three agricultural research institutes dedicated to crop science, advanced bio-based manufacturing and anti-microbial resistance research." Lisa Rein in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Commerce: "The White House is requesting a discretionary budget of $8.8 billion for the Department of Commerce, the federal agency charged with promoting economic growth, conducting the Census and issuing patents, among other responsibilities. The 2014 budget gave the department $8.3 billion for discretionary spending." Jaime Fuller in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Defense: "The Obama administration plans to spend $495.6 billion on defense in 2015 or about $113 billion less than had been expected in last year’s budget. The biggest savings will come from cuts to personnel, particularly in the Army, which will be gradually pared back to its smallest size in 74 years." Greg Jaffe in The Washington Post

Dept. of Education: "The White House budget proposal shows that the president wants to increase discretionary spending for the Department of Education by $1.3 billion to $68.6 billion. That’s in addition to $14.4 billion the federal government gives to states to help educate poor children and another $11.5 billion it provides for disabled students who require special education." Lyndsey Layton in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Energy: "President Obama’s proposed budget asks for $27.9 billion in discretionary spending, a 2.6 percent increase, for the Energy Department, featuring boosts in spending on basic research and costs associated with maintaining the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. The administration is asking for $627 million in additional funds, a third more than the current fiscal year, for managing the nuclear stockpile. Overall the proposed budget includes $11.7 billion for nuclear security, a 4 percent increase over the 2014 enacted level." Steven Mufson in The Washington Post.

Environmental Protection Agency: President Obama "proposed a $7.9 billion fiscal 2015 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency, a spending plan that focuses on reducing carbon output from vehicles and power plants and preparing the country 'for the unavoidable impacts of climate change.' The proposal is a $300 million reduction from the EPA’s 2014 budget of $8.2 billion, although the plan would increase the agency’s funding in coming years. One major cut is $581 million from a fund that helps states  build wastewater and drinking water projects." Lenny Bernstein in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Health and Human Services: "The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed a $77.1 billion budget for the Health and Human Services department, representing a slight decrease from 2014. The budget includes new funding for doctor training, Head Start and mental health services, as well as initiatives to target antibiotic resistance. But it does not include a major increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health, despite warnings from the agency’s director that it needs a significant infusion to remain on the cutting edge of research. The budget also continues to fund the president’s signature health-care law, which had many of its key provisions implemented this year." Sandhya Somasekhar in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Homeland Security: "The Department of Homeland Security would receive $38.2 billion in non-disaster funding under President Obama’s budget proposal, which would reduce spending for the organization by nearly 3 percent compared to the 2014 enacted level but roughly the same as it was in 2013. Obama’s fiscal plan calls for 4,000 additional Customs and Border Protection officers, as well as $549 million to protect federal computer networks from cybersecurity threats, $1 billion in assistance to state and local governments for firefighters and emergency-management personnel and $10 million to help immigrants on the path to citizenship."  Josh Hicks in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Housing and Urban Development: "The president’s proposed budget includes $46.7 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, about $1.2 billion more than what Congress approved for fiscal 2014. Programs designed to help the homeless and those in need of rental assistance would get the biggest boost."  Dina ElBoghdady in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Justice: "The Justice Department’s proposed $27.4 billion budget reflects Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s priority of criminal justice and prison reform. Holder’s budget — $122 million above the 2014 enacted level — includes $173 million in targeted investments for criminal justice reform efforts."  Sari Horwitz in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Interior: "President Obama requested $11.7 billion for the Interior Department in fiscal 2015, a slight increase from the year before. The spotlight will be on the $1 billion designated for the president's climate resilience plan, for research into the impacts of climate change, a touchy partisan subject in Congress." Darryl Fears in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Labor: "The administration’s proposed budget for the Department of Labor includes one of President Obama’s top priorities this year, a boost in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25, where it has been since 2009.... The White House is seeking $11.8 billion in discretionary funding for the agency. The money would support new efforts to reach unemployed workers and recently separated veterans with in-person “reemployment” services; assist states in launching new paid leave programs for employees who need to take time off from work to care for a child or family member; and boost efforts to enforce laws that protect workers from being denied wages and overtime pay." Lisa Rein in The Washington Post.

Dept. of State: "The Obama administration in its fiscal 2015 budget proposal is seeking $46.2 billion for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, just $1.6 billion less than it requested for fiscal 2014." Jason Ukman in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Transportation: "The hub of the president’s budget proposal for transportation is a $302 billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization that he outlined last week during a trip to St. Paul, Minn. Obama proposes to pay for the plan through a massive infusion of funds he envisions being created by corporate tax reforms. That new revenue that would augment the rapidly dwindling Highway Trust Fund, which gets most of its money from the federal gas tax." Ashley Halsey III in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Treasury: "The White House’s proposed 2015 budget would provide $13.8 billion to the Treasury Department, representing a slight downgrade of about 1.6 percent compared to the spending level for this year. Most of the funding, $12 billion, would go toward the Internal Revenue Service, boosting the agency’s budget by 6.3 percent compared to 2014."  Josh Hicks in The Washington Post.

Dept. of Veterans Affairs: "The 2015 White House budget would provide $65.3 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The enacted 2014 federal budget gave $63.4 billion to the federal agency, which provides benefits to veterans and their families. The VA has accumulated a massive backlog of claims waiting to be processed....Obama announced that “slashing that backlog” was a White House priority in his 2014 State of the Union address, and his proposed 2015 budget includes a $138.7 million investment in the Veterans Claims Intake Program in an effort to reform and speed up the process." Jaime Fuller in The Washington Post.

LEADING OPINION:

THE NEW YORK TIMES: The what-might-have-been budget. President Obama’s 2015 budget won’t survive the solid wall of Republican opposition in Congress, but that doesn’t mean it’s a useless document. Virtually every section is an important illustration of how many national goals — in particular, reducing inequality and rebuilding the economy — could be achieved if Congress would end unnecessary and unfair tax breaks for the rich. One of the most important is an expansion of the earned-income tax credit, which for decades has been one of the biggest and most successful antipoverty programs, raising 10.1 million people out of poverty in 2012….It would take a half-million people out of poverty and reduce poverty for 10 million. (It is no substitute, however, for raising the minimum wage, and should not be used as an excuse to lower the Democratic proposal to set the higher wage at $10.10.)” The Editorial Board.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: The back-to-Pelosi budget. “The best way to understand it is as a campaign-strategy memo to return Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. After the rude four-year interruption of a GOP House, Mr. Obama is revving up the tax and spend engines to turn out Democrats this fall and change the debate away from ObamaCare….Mr. Obama's budget doesn't make even a token outreach to the GOP, and in that regard it is at least honest. With Democrats at risk of losing the Senate, Mr. Obama views a revival of tax and spend as his party's best 2014 campaign pitch. Americans will have to decide if they like what about half of them will be paying for.” The Wall Street Journal.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Budget comes up short on entitlement, tax reform. “A nation must be able to adapt its spending priorities, sometimes swiftly, in response to unforeseen contingencies. That’s harder to do when so many resources are pre-committed to a handful of worthy but expensive entitlements. In a federal budget of nearly $4 trillion, the president and Congress will argue over about $1 trillion, divided roughly evenly between defense needs and every other federal function. Under these circumstances, even the most modest policy prescription becomes a recipe for political trench warfare. This structural problem requires credible structural reform — to both entitlements and taxes. In that respect, Mr. Obama’s budget is just the latest in a long line of plans, from Democrats and Republicans, that fails to deliver what the country most needs.” Editorial Board

BLOOMBERG VIEW: The working poor get their 15 minutes. “Your move, Republicans. That was essentially President Barack Obama's message today with his proposal to expand the earned income tax credit, a wage supplement for low-income workers. Conservative economists have long been pushing for an expanded credit, arguing it is a better way of lifting personal income than raising the minimum wage. They are right -- and now congressional Republicans have an opportunity to show they agree.” The Editors.

CHAIT: Obama to GOP: You’re right. Let’s expand the earned income tax credit. “Republicans, eager to shake off their royalist image, have insisted that they share the goal of raising wages for low-income workers, but merely object to the chosen method. The much better way to go about it, they insisted, was to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, a wage subsidy for low-income workers. So now Obama is saying, okay, let’s do that, then. The administration’s budget proposes a major new expansion of the credit….So now that Obama is agreeing to do what conservatives have been begging, Congress will quickly whisk this plan to the president’s desk, right? Ha, ha — of course not.” Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine.

VINIK: The glaring hole in Obama’s budget. “There’s a lot to like in the 2015 budget that President Barack Obama released on Tuesday. It would expand the earned income tax credit for childless adults, put billions of dollars towards infrastructure investment (though not as much as he says), and create funding for a universal pre-kindergarten initiative. These are all commendable programs, as is much of what is in the budget. But there is one glaring weakness—not enough help for the long-term unemployed.” Danny Vinik in The New Republic.

LOWREY: Budget’s rosy economic projections may be unrealistic. “But it is worth noting that perhaps the single most important factor when it comes to deficits is largely out of the White House’s hands: economic growth. Mr. Obama’s budget assumes that there will be no recession for the next decade – indeed, he sees a moderate but strengthening recovery. History suggests those might be the most unrealistic numbers in the document.” Annie Lowrey in The New York Times.

Top op-eds:

KRUGMAN: The real poverty trap. “I mean, think about it: Do you really believe that making conditions harsh enough that poor women must work while pregnant or while they still have young children actually makes it more likely that those children will succeed in life? So the whole poverty trap line is a falsehood wrapped in a fallacy; the alleged facts about incentive effects are mostly wrong, and in any case the entire premise that work effort = social mobility is wrong.” Paul Krugman in The New York Times.

SUNSTEIN: Yes, regulation can kill jobs. A lot more remains to be learned, but two things are clear. First, there isn't much direct evidence to date that regulation has caused significant job losses in the U.S. Second, some regulations do cost jobs, and they create real and sometimes long-term human hardship as a result. In deciding whether and how to proceed, regulators should take account of that hardship -- and try to minimize it. Cass Sunstein in Bloomberg View.

SUDERMAN: Latest Obamacare delay has ‘not even a pretense’ of justification. “Remember, Obamacare is the law of the land. And there's absolutely no messing with it. Unless you are the Obama administration, and it's an election year.... Is there a sound legal basis for such a delay? If so, we've yet to hear about it.” Peter Suderman in Reason.

ROBINSON: With Ukraine crisis, the U.S. has a credibility problem. “Is it just me, or does the rhetoric about the crisis in Ukraine sound as if all of Washington is suffering from amnesia? We’re supposed to be shocked — shocked! — that a great military power would cook up a pretext to invade a smaller, weaker nation? I’m sorry, but has everyone forgotten the unfortunate events in Iraq a few years ago? My sentiments, to be clear, are with the legitimate Ukrainian government, not with the neo-imperialist regime in Russia. But the United States, frankly, has limited standing to insist on absolute respect for the territorial integrity of sovereign states.” Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post.

FRIEDMAN: Why Putin doesn’t respect us. “There is much nonsense being written about how Vladimir Putin showed how he is ‘tougher’ than Barack Obama and how Obama now needs to demonstrate his manhood. This is how great powers get drawn into the politics of small tribes and end up in great wars that end badly for everyone. We vastly exaggerate Putin’s strength — so does he — and we vastly underestimate our own strength, and ability to weaken him through nonmilitary means.” Thomas Friedman in The New York Times.

MOORE: Why Obama's budget should be dead on arrival. “Barack Obama keeps saying that there isn’t a government program for every problem, but his new near-$4 trillion 2015 budget suggests just the opposite….This budget busts the budget caps that already were raised just late last year. That didn’t take long. It calls for spending $56 billion above the caps to be paid for by ‘loophole closing’ tax increases to pry more money from businesses and investors. This isn’t allowed under the budget rules, but Obama makes them up as he goes along….It’s a budget that should be dead on arrival and if by chance it still has a heartbeat, sign it up for Obamacare. That will surely be its deserved death sentence.” Stephen Moore at the Heritage Foundation.

Tea party wars interlude: The establishment strikes back.

2. Speaking of which, the consensus is that most of Obama’s budget is dead on arrival as usual.

Why the Obama budget is already dead. “Congress has passed a two-year budget agreement that sets spending levels through the end of 2015, meaning that members of the House and Senate can justifiably dismiss the budget President Obama unveiled Tuesday as irrelevant. But the White House is required by law to present a budget proposal each year….Next week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is expected to follow up with a proposal that will focus on welfare reform and an overhaul of social programs, including Head Start and Medicaid. Neither proposal will go anywhere — and that's by design.” Ed O’Keefe in The Washington Post.

Point: Five reasons Obama’s budget matters even less than usual this year. “1. The December budget deal has already set spending levels for fiscal 2015….2. House Republicans are drafting a budget that ignores Obama's request for more money for education and whatnot….3. Senate Democrats will not draft a budget at all….4. Which means that no budget can be enacted….5. Nobody is paying much attention.” Lori Montgomery in The Washington Post.

Counterpoint: Washington is ignoring Obama's budget. You shouldn't. “For one thing, some of Obama’s budget proposals could still become legislation—not as sweeping initiatives, for sure, but as scaled-down pilots or add-ons to other pieces of legislation. It’s already happened once, in the Ryan-Murray spending agreement....The stakes in the fall may not be nearly as big as they were in 2008...or in 2010...But those were unusually grandiose times. The difference between Democratic and Republican visions of government are still large—and in 2015, when the current spending agreement runs out, lawmakers will have to reconcile them. Obama’s budget is one vision for how to do that, which makes it worth taking seriously.” Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic.

Senate Democrats on budget: It’s complicated. "Senate Democrats are offering an awkward embrace of President Obama's fiscal 2015 budget, casting it as a ‘blueprint’ for future spending habits, with the knowledge that the administration's plan is little more than an academic exercise. The president's budget hits at a time when there's almost no chance that Congress will act on it, after lawmakers passed a hard-won two-year spending plan earlier this year that amounts to a political armistice—for now—over fiscal fights. The Democratic majority is now walking a political tightrope, supportive of the president's policies but careful to signal that they're not reopening the budget deal.” Michael Catalini and Billy House in National Journal.

Republicans again hate it. “Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, as he does every year, ripped President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2015 blueprint. ‘The president has offered perhaps his most irresponsible budget yet. American families looking for jobs and opportunity will find only more government in this plan. Spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much, it would hurt our economy and cost jobs,’ he said. Boehner dismissed the president’s $56 billion sidecar spending wish list in his budget as a violation of last year’s budget deal between House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash.” Steven T. Dennis in Roll Call.

‘This is NPR’ interlude: After five-decade career, NPR’s Carl Kasell will retire.

3. U.S. hits back at Putin, moves on sanctions and Ukraine aid.

Obama, Kerry dismiss Putin’s rationale for Russia intervention in Ukraine. “President Obama on Tuesday dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s charges that ethnic Russians are being threatened in Crimea as part of what Putin called a ‘coup’ last week in Ukraine. ‘Mr. Putin can throw a lot of words out there, but facts on the ground’ tell a different story, Obama said Tuesday following a Putin news conference at his country residence west of Moscow. Citing widespread international support for Ukraine’s new government, and agreement that Russia is violating international law by deploying troops throughout the Crimean autonomous region, Obama said that ‘President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers, making a different set of interpretations.’” Karen DeYoung and Anne Gearan in The Washington Post.

Kerry pledges $1B in aid to Ukraine. “In a demonstration of support for Ukraine’s fledgling government and a new swipe at Russia, Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev on Tuesday with an offer of $1 billion in an American loan guarantee and pledges of technical assistance….But there was no indication that Russia was prepared to reverse its intervention in Crimea, and Mr. Kerry later warned that Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, might be preparing to expand the scope of his country’s military operation into eastern Ukraine….The centerpiece of the American aid package is the $1 billion loan guarantee. It is intended to cushion Ukrainian households as the new government undertakes wrenching economic changes that are expected to be demanded by the International Monetary Fund, and as it contends with the reduction of energy subsidies from Russia, which has challenged the new government’s legitimacy.” Michael R. Gordon in The New York Times.

Lawmakers moving on aid, sanctions. “Congress is poised to move quickly to provide Ukraine with economic assistance while lawmakers debate ways to punish Russia for sparking a crisis in Europe. The first step is for congressional committees to decide whether to pursue sanctions on Russia separately from a $1 billion aid package for Ukraine that’s being sought by President Barack Obama. Congressional leaders in both parties are backing the aid deal but sanctions are being approached more cautiously amid fears that such a move would trigger a backlash against U.S. allies.” Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim in Politico.

GOP says Ukraine crisis builds case for Keystone XL, natural gas exports. “Crises bring new attention to Washington's thorniest policy battles, but they rarely change the minds of the people fighting them. Energy policy is no exception: House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton said Monday that Russia's actions in Ukraine demonstrate why the Obama administration should accelerate approval of U.S. natural-gas export proposals. Upton touted the idea that U.S. exports can help curb European allies' reliance on Russian natural-gas exports.... Across Capitol Hill, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., used a wide-ranging statement on the Ukrainian crisis to offer fresh calls for approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, calling it part of an energy strategy that can curb Russian influence.” Ben Geman in National Journal.

Mardi gras interlude: Doggie gras!

4. Health care policy dilemmas for Democrats and Republicans.

Americans may be able to keep old insurance plans longer under rewrite of health-care rules. “The Obama administration is preparing to announce that Americans who want to keep their old health plans may do so for at least one year longer than they expected, even if the policies don’t comply with law, according to insurance industry officials familiar with the latest rewrite of federal health-care rules. The decision has become an open secret in insurance and health policy circles. And it marks the second time in four months that administration officials have adjusted their rules about health plans that do not include benefits required by the 2010 Affordable Care Act.” Amy Goldstein in The Washington Post.

‘Doc fix’ puts GOP in election-year bind. “Majority Leader Eric Cantor is dithering about bringing up legislation to stave off massive pay cuts for doctors set to begin at the end the month, as he worries about political consequences should hospital and nursing home budgets be slashed to pay for the costly bill….The indecision demonstrates the contradiction of governing during an election year. Republicans have said they want to avoid pushing off must-pass legislation until its deadline, wary of public opinion after October’s partial government shutdown. But they are equally wary of giving Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., any ammo for the midterms or angering powerful lobbying groups, in this case those representing hospitals.” Daniel Newhauser in Roll Call.

Science interlude: A successor to Sagan reboots “Cosmos.”

5. Same-sex marriage keeps gaining momentum.

Support for same-sex marriage hits new high in wake of judicial rulings. “Half of all Americans believe that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll in which a large majority also said businesses should not be able to deny serving gays for religious reasons….The poll was conducted in the wake of a series of rulings by federal judges that state bans on same-sex marriage and prohibitions on recognizing marriages performed elsewhere are unconstitutional.” Peyton M. Craighill and Scott Clement in The Washington Post.

20 Republicans urge court to back gay marriage in Utah, Okla. “Former Republican senators Alan Simpson and Nancy Kassebaum joined a group supporting civil marriage rights for same-sex couples in a filing with the federal appeals court reviewing gay-marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. Twenty Republicans describing themselves as conservatives, moderates and libertarians who embrace the ‘big tent’ beliefs for the party espoused by Ronald Reagan said in yesterday’s filing that the benefits of marriage and social stability of the family unit ‘are promoted by providing access to civil marriage for same-sex couples.’” Karen Gullo and Andrew Harris in Bloomberg.

Ky. attorney general won’t defend state’s same-sex marriage ban. “Gov. Steven L. Beshear of Kentucky said on Tuesday that the state would hire an outside lawyer to defend a same-sex marriage ban after a fellow Democrat, the state attorney general, declined to do so. Mr. Beshear did not defend the amendment. He spoke of following an ‘orderly process’ of appeals leading to an ultimate resolution by the Supreme Court….He acted shortly after Attorney General Jack Conway said that if he were to appeal a judge’s ruling last month striking down part of the ban, ‘I would be defending discrimination.’” Trip Gabriel in The New York Times.

Gay marriage opponents don’t know they’re on the wrong side of public opinion. “What happens when a vocal minority thinks it’s a silent majority? According to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, only 41 percent of Americans oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry. But that same 41 percent has a highly skewed perception of where the rest of the country stands: nearly two-thirds of same-sex marriage opponents erroneously think most Americans agree with them. And only two in 10 same-sex marriage opponents realize that the majority of Americans support marriage equality.” Christopher Ingraham in The Washington Post.

Wonkblog round-up:

Five basic questions about Obama’s budget that you were not afraid to ask.Zachary Goldfarb.

What is the Internet saying about the Obama budget? Amrita Jayakumar.

Explore 60 years of budget deficits in one chart. Christopher Ingraham and Kennedy Elliott.

Seven things you absolutely need to know about Obama’s budget. Christopher Ingraham.

Got questions about #Obamabudget? We’ll answer them. Matt DeLong.

Three early signs of what Obamacare means for consumers. Jia Lynn Yang.

Honey, I shrunk the budget! Lori Montgomery.

The two charts you need to see to understand Obama’s new budget. Christopher Ingraham.

Obama budget seeks new spending, new taxes to boost economy, tame debt. Zachary Goldfarb.

Why presidents often don’t get the budgets they want in one amazing chart. Zachary Goldfarb and Denise Lu.

It’s budget day, but don’t believe everything you read in the budget! Christopher Ingraham and Laura Dalton.

Gay marriage opponents don’t know they’re on the wrong side of public opinion. Christopher Ingraham.

Et Cetera:

When a bridge falls: A short documentary revisiting the 2007 I-35W bridge collapse in Minnesota. The New York Times and Retro Report.

Pelosi: Discharge decision coming soon for immigration reform. Seung Min Kim in Politico.

NSA director says Snowden leaks hamper efforts against cyberattacks. David E. Sanger in The New York Times.

Obama waves veto pen at House bill that would kill EPA climate rule. Ben Geman in National Journal.

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail us.

SECTION: {section=business, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=business, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Most Read Business
Next Story
Jia Lynn Yang · March 5