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What we already know about the upcoming White House budget

President Obama speaks to the members of the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room at the White House on Feb. 24, 2014. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday is White House budget day, when President Obama is due to release his annual wish list for department spending and other federal fiscal policies.

The specific proposals will remain unknown until the administration unveils the actual budget document, but officials have provided hints about the some of the broader details in the past few weeks.

Here’s what we know so far:

More spending:  The administration has said it wants to dedicate more funding toward job training, early-childhood education and other programs that could help the middle class and the poor, making the case that more spending is in order with federal deficits down because of an improved economy, minor changes to the tax code and austerity measures that Congress imposed through the sequester.

Among his proposals, Obama will ask for tens of billions of dollars in fresh spending to expand educational offerings for preschoolers, job training for laid-off workers and the Earned Income Tax Credit, which applies to the working poor.

The president will likely propose bringing in new revenue to keep the deficit from rising again despite the additional spending. In the past, he has called for limiting the value of income-tax deductions for wealthy Americans and ending various tax breaks for corporations.

MORE: With 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to era of austerity 

MORE: In budget proposal, Obama to seek more money for anti-poverty programs

MORE: Obama to propose expanding EITC and child tax credit in budget

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Defense cuts: The Pentagon last week called for a drastic reduction in personnel strength and a greater focus on technology and equipment in its 2015 budget proposal. In addition to slashing the Army to its smallest size in 74 years, the plan would trim housing allowances, increase health-care fees for active-duty families and military retirees, cut commissary subsidies by 71 percent and stop pay raises for the highest-ranking officers.

MORE: Pentagon blueprint would cut Army size as military adjusts to leaner budgets

MORE: Pentagon budget would affect cost of living for troops and families

Federal-worker pay raise: The plan will call for a 1 percent pay raise for federal employees and members of the military, matching the pay hikes those groups received this year. Labor groups have called for a greater increase, saying Obama’s proposal would not be enough after more than three years with a pay freeze for civilian employees.

The president halted salary increases for two years starting in 2011, and Congress later continued the hold for 2013, although federal workers still received performance awards and higher pay through promotions during that time.

MORE: Obama to propose 1 percent pay hike for federal workers, troops


Federal-employee training: Many federal agencies have practically halted training as a result of the government-wide budget cuts known as the sequester and out of an abundance of caution after a series of conference scandals. But Obama’s proposals will call for greater spending in this area.

MORE: Federal training gets attention in Obama’s 2015 budget proposal

Chained CPI: The budget will drop a past proposal to using the “chained CPI” inflation measure to determine the annual increase in payouts for certain federal benefits. In the past, Obama put that measure on the table to entice Republicans to raise taxes, but his gesture did not succeed.

The chained CPI would amount to a less-generous annual rate of increase for Social Security payments and federal-employee retirement annuities, reducing growth by about 0.3 percentage points each year.

MORE: Obama budget without ‘chained CPI’ would protect federal retirement benefits

(Charles Dharapak/AP) – Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters. (Charles Dharapak/AP) – Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters.

Agencies that might see more spending: The list is bound to be greater than this, but the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Veterans Affairs may see a bump in how much funding the president requests for them.

Already, veterans groups have called for increased spending on the VA, and Senate Democrats voted overwhelmingly last week in favor of an omnibus VA bill that would have expanded benefits for former troops — that measure failed to advance after a vote in which all but two Republicans opposed the measure.

As for the IRS, the agency’s new commissioner, John Koskinen, has repeatedly talked about budget cuts taking a toll on customer service and tax enforcement, so it’s not a stretch to expect that Obama will ask for more funding in those areas. GOP lawmakers have criticized Koskinen for talking about the pains of austerity after he restarted bonuses for the embattled agency.

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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