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Obama's 2012 budget: agency by agency

Feb. 15, 2011 - 06:00AM   |  
By STAFF REPORT   |   Comments
The 2012 requests are compared with 2010 enacted budgets, which agencies generally are operating at under the continuing budget resolution for 2011.
The 2012 requests are compared with 2010 enacted budgets, which agencies generally are operating at under the continuing budget resolution for 2011. (Rob Curtis / Staff)

Following are highlights of agencies' 2012 budget requests. The 2012 requests are compared with 2010 enacted budgets, which agencies generally are operating at under the continuing budget resolution for 2011:

Agriculture Department

Overall funding is proposed to increase more than $14.6 billion, or 11 percent, from $131.0 billion in 2010 to $145.6 billion. Discretionary spending, however, would drop $3.1 billion, or 1 percent, from $25.1 billion in 2010 to $22.0 billion.

The department proposes a $6.5 billion investment to provide financial assistance to electric cooperatives, research institutes and small businesses to promote expansion of renewable energy and biofuels.

Funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative would increase to $325 million to study areas including nutrition and obesity reduction, food safety and climate change.

The budget would eliminate all research grant earmarks as well as $224 million in unobligated balances for research construction projects. Reductions would also be targeted at USDA conservation programs by merging programs and moving funding to high-priority initiatives, and restructuring rural housing assistance programs.

Commerce Department

Discretionary spending would decrease more than $5 billion, or 37 percent, to $8.8 billion in 2012, down from $13.9 billion in 2010.

In keeping with the administration's call for innovation, the budget includes an increase of $100 million in funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology laboratories, for a total $764 million. Additionally, $75 million is proposed for the Technology Innovation Program and $12 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Consortia.

An additional $143 million is budgeted for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which helps firms identify growth strategies and adopt more efficient manufacturing processes, and $526 million for the International Trade Administration, which promotes exports.

The department expects reductions associated with the completion of the 2010 decennial census; Census Bureau funding would decline from $7.2 billion in 2010 to $1.0 billion.

Also facing cuts are "outdated or lower priority programs," such as certain statistical reports produced by the Census Bureau, the Public Telecommunications Facilities Grant program, and the Emergency Steel Loan Guarantee program.

The department's total budget authority would be cut more than $3 billion to $10.4 billion, down from $13.7 billion in 2010.

Defense Department

The Pentagon would receive nearly $671 billion in discretionary spending, including almost $118 billion for the war in Afghanistan, withdrawing forces from Iraq, and other overseas contingency operations.

The proposed $553.0 billion in base funding would be an increase of nearly $23 billion or 4 percent over $530.1 billion 2010. It would provide funds to modernize the nation's nuclear arsenal and heavy bomber force and help Defense implement other requirements of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates proposes saving $78 billion over five years by making changes and cuts in the way the department operates. His plan includes cutting nearly 200 members of the Senior Executive Service more than the 150 Gates proposed reducing last August and cutting more than 100 generals and admirals.

Defense's civilian work force is expected to drop by about 7,000 employees in 2012, leaving it with 748,000 workers. But that would be about 7,000 more than it had in 2010.

Gates also wants to consolidate two air operations centers in the U.S. and two in Europe, avoid $1.4 billion in construction costs by continuing to use existing military facilities, and save more than $1.3 billion by having the Navy use multiyear procurement strategies to buy new surveillance, jamming and fighter aircraft.

Gates also wants to cut $13 billion in so-called "niche" weapons systems he said are facing significant development problems or spiraling costs or are already outdated. The Marine Corps' Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, Navy's SM-2 Block IIIB surface-to-air missile, and the Army's Surface Launched Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile air defense system would all be canceled.

Education Department

The department would receive $77.4 billion, a 20 percent increase over $64.3 billion in funding in 2010.

Along the lines of Race to the Top, the administration would plug in $1.4 billion for new competitions to strengthen performance in both the K-12 and higher education arenas. Almost $975 million would go to competitive initiatives to recruit, train and reward good teachers.

The budget request also offers some savings. Thirteen discretionary programs would be eliminated, and 38 K-12 programs would be consolidated to 11.

The request also contains some bad news for college students: Although the maximum Pell Grant award would hold steady at $5,550, the grants could no longer be used for summer school. And graduate and professional school students would begin accruing interest on their student loans while they are still in school.

The department's total budget authority would be $68.0 billion, up 8 percent from $62.9 billion in 2010.

Energy Department

Discretionary spending would grow 11 percent to $29.5 billion over its 2010 budget of $26.5 billion. That includes funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which would see a $1.8 billion increase to $11.7 billion.

Much of the increase would be paid for by eliminating tax subsidies for oil and gas producers.

The budget includes $36 billion in loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants and hundreds of millions of dollars for numerous energy-efficiency research grants.

It also includes a salary and bonus freeze for facilities management contract employees at national laboratories, with the savings going back into equipment and technology research.

Total budget authority increases 18 percent from $23.0 billion in 2010 to $27.2 billion in 2012.

Environmental Protection Agency

Discretionary spending would decrease 14 percent, or $1.3 billion, from $10.3 billion in 2010 to $9.0 billion in 2012.

Among the biggest reductions is a $950 million drop in funding for clean water and drinking water state revolving funds, which would receive $2.5 billion. Taking into account state loan repayments in future years, the program is expected to still provide, on average, about 5 percent of water infrastructure spending annually.

The administration also would kill an $80 million clean diesel grant program, but it proposes $25 million for state grants to start permitting programs to control greenhouse gas emissions; and $621 million to strengthen EPA's emission monitoring, violation detection and information dissemination an increase of $24 million for enforcement and compliance assurance activities.

Other reductions include:

Decreased funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by $125 million to $350 million.

Elimination of $160 million in water infrastructure earmarks.

Total budget authority declines 14 percent from $10.2 billion in 2010 to $8.8 percent in 2012.

General Services Administration

GSA has proposed more than $839 million in new construction in 2012, down from $1.3 billion in 2010, of which almost $500 million came from temporary spending from the stimulus plan.

GSA's federal building fund will grow to $9.5 billion, up from $9.1 billion in 2010.

More than $194 million will go to the development of the new Department of Homeland Security headquarters in Southeast Washington, and $97 million will go to an FBI records center in Frederick, Md.

GSA will spend $285 million more than its projected revenue, with the overage to be paid from funds collected in previous years.

Health and Human Services Department

HHS would see a 3 percent decrease in discretionary spending, from $84.4 billion in 2010 to $82.2 billion. Total budget authority would dip less than 1 percent, from $889.6 billion to $886.8 billion.

Funding for Community Services Block Grants would be cut in half but would reward the highest performing recipients. The budget would set aside $350 million for the most successful Community Action Agencies.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program would also take a 50 percent cut, reducing program funds to $2.6 billion to reflect lower energy prices. Spending would return to levels before a spike in energy prices in 2009.

Also proposed: $32 billion for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health.

Department of Homeland Security

The budget requests $43.2 billion, an increase of $3.4 billion, or 9 percent, from the 2010 spending level now in place.

The additional funding would be used to hire more than 3,500 Transportation Security Administration employees and 300 Customs and Border Protection officers.

DHS is not requesting money to insource contractors at the Federal Protective Service, but it plans to add 146 federal employees to that agency's staff. DHS has been studying the option of insourcing some or all of the 15,000 contractor security guards it employs.

The budget also calls for more border surveillance funds for Arizona and for the Coast Guard to build eight new response boats.

DHS will allocate $213 million to fund its move to a new headquarters in Southeast Washington, but it will defer the construction of a separate Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters until after the 2012 budget year.

Total budget authority declines 2 percent from $45.4 billion in 2010 to $44.3 billion in 2012.

Housing and Urban Development Department

HUD's $41.7 billion discretionary budget would be a 3 percent or $1.1 billion decrease from $42.8 in 2010.

The Community Development Block Grant program would be cut by $300 million, or 8 percent, relative to current funding.

Money for programs that fund new housing construction for the elderly and people with disabilities would be cut more than 15 percent, to $953 million.

"These are choices that we do not relish," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said Monday.

But funding for rental assistance to low-income families would get a 6 percent boost to $19.2 billion.

The biggest winner would be programs to end homelessness among veterans and families, a key administration objective. Homeless assistance grants would rise almost 29 percent to $2.4 billion; the proposed budget also includes $50 million for new service coordinators and incentive fees to help motivate housing authorities to serve more homeless people.

HUD's total budget authority would increase 5 percent from $45.1 billion in 2010 to $47.2 billion.

Interior Department

At $12.1 billion, Interior's discretionary spending would be unchanged from 2010, but that figure masks some major changes in the use of that money.

Construction would be slashed by 36 percent, for example, a reduction that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said would slow efforts to reduce the maintenance backlogs in the national parks.

Some $73 million would be set aside for reviewing and permitting new renewable energy projects on federal land, with a goal of giving the go-ahead to at least 9,000 megawatts of new solar, wind and geothermal electricity capacity on public lands by the end of this year.

The budget proposes hiring more than 100 new inspectors to beef up oversight of offshore oil and gas rigs following last year's disastrous spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Those inspectors would work for the newly created Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, which was stood up in place of the now-defunct Minerals Management Service after the spill.

Justice Department

The budget includes $7.9 billion for the FBI, a $166 million increase over the continuing resolution funding amounts now in effect. The budget also calls for a 3 percent increase in funding for law enforcement, bringing it to $13 billion; and a 10 percent increase for prisons and detention, bringing it to $8.4 billion.

Overall, the budget calls for $8 million, or 3 percent, in increased spending from $30.2 billion in 2010 to $31.0 billion.

However, discretionary spending would decline 24 percent from $27.6 billion in 2010 to $20.9 billion. That is because the 2012 budget would exclude $6.6 billion for the crime victims' fund discretionary offset and $620 million for an assets forfeiture fund cancellation.

Justice would pay for those exclusions in part by cutting almost $2 billion in grants, administrative expenses, and drug enforcement and intelligence programs. The National Drug Intelligence Center's funding would be cut by $19 million.

Justice also wants to cut $39 million in administrative expenses such as travel, relocation, publications and supplies. And Justice wants to save more than $10 million by consolidating smaller offices into larger offices, and $12 million in information technology efficiencies.

Justice hopes to add 1,777 new employees to the Bureau of Prisons to help it open three new prisons next year, including the Thomson Correction Center in Illinois, which the administration wants to use to house Guantanamo Bay detainees. Justice also wants to add 471 positions to the FBI, including 212 new agents.

Labor Department

Discretionary spending would drop 5 percent from $13.5 billion in 2010 to $12.8 billion this year.

The proposal shifts $380 million to create a Workforce Innovation Fund to encourage fresh approaches to job training. The program would be jointly administered by Labor and the Education Department and reward states and regions for implementing "bold systemic reform."

Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration would receive an additional $5 million to enforce worker protection laws, while the Job Corps construction budget would be cut 25 percent.

Labor's 2012 budget would cut top-line spending 39 percent to $108.8 billion, down from $179.2 billion in 2010.


NASA's 2012 budget proposal is $18.7 billion, unchanged from 2010. But allocations would shift significantly in two areas space technology and space operations.

In space operations, the retirement of the Space Shuttle would reduce spending for that project to $665 million in 2012 from $3.1 billion in 2010. That reduction would allow for investments in new aerospace projects, including the development of a heavy-lift rocket and crew vehicle to carry astronauts beyond Earth's orbit, and to modernize Kennedy Space Center and the Florida launch range.

Meanwhile, space technology would increase to $1.0 billion in 2012 from $275 million in 2010. Plans include improving satellite capabilities, creating teams at various aerospace firms to develop new crew transportation systems and support the growing International Space Station, and researching green aviation technologies.

Social Security Administration

SSA seeks a 10 percent increase in discretionary spending from $9.3 billion in 2010 to $10.2 billion.

The budget would help the agency tackle its disability claims backlog. SSA would hear about 822,500 cases in 2012, reducing the backlog to 597,000.

SSA also would bolster efforts to reduce improper payments. An investment of $938 million would, in part, increase medical reviews by more than 60 percent to ensure benefits are paid only to those eligible.

Total budget authority would increase 9 percent, from $754.1 billion in 2010 to $818.3 billion.

State Department

The State Department budget request represents a 1 percent increase to $47 billion after excluding what the agency calls "extraordinary costs" of the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Funds for those operations have been rolled into an account called "overseas contingency Operations" and would push the total State Department spending to $58 billion.

The agency proposes $7.4 billion in aid to countries such as Israel and Jordan and $11 billion in aid to countries such as Yemen and Somalia to support antiterrorism efforts.

The budget calls for a 1 percent increase in Foreign Service officers and an almost 1,200 increase in civilian employees in Iraq.

Transportation Department

The department would receive $128.6 billion in 2012, a 53 percent increase over $84.3 billion in 2010.

The vast majority of that budget $109 billion would fund a six-year, $556 billion plan to modernize the country's surface transportation infrastructure.

When that is excluded from the budget, Transportation would be left with $13.4 billion in discretionary funds a 9 percent, or $1.3 billion, decrease from $14.7 billion in 2010.

The Federal Aviation Administration's budget would increase $400 million to $12.8 billion. Much of that increase $370 million would go to FAA's air traffic control modernization project, called NextGen. NextGen would have more than $1.2 billion in funding in 2012.

The Maritime Administration, Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration all would see cuts in discretionary spending.

Treasury Department

Treasury would come out ahead with a $14.0 billion budget 4 percent larger than the $13.4 billion allocated in 2010.

The biggest beneficiary would be the IRS, whose funding would grow more than 9 percent to $13.3 billion. Among the improvements the money is supposed to buy: information technology modernization and better response rates to taxpayer questions. The administration also wants to spend more than $240 million on targeted enforcement initiatives to attack the gap between taxes owed and taxes paid. When fully in place three years from now, those efforts are supposed to pay off with about $1.3 billion in new revenue.

The IRS absorbs the lion's share of the department's budget; the Bureau of the Public Debt and other smaller Treasury operations would either see cuts or only minimal increases.

Under the proposed budget, consolidating IT functions and other streamlining measures would save an estimated $200 million in 2012.

Although the department's authority to make new financial commitments through the Troubled Asset Relief Program ended in October, the administration continues to support "legacy" activities such as helping homeowners avoid foreclosure. The TARP carries an overall projected cost of $48 billion, far below earlier estimates.

Treasury's total budget authority in 2012 would be $520.3 billion, a 33 percent increase from $392.2 billion in 2010.

Veterans Affairs Department

VA's discretionary budget would increase 11 percent from $53.1 billion in 2010 to $58.8 billion. The 2012 funding includes a $953 million contingency fund to cover unforeseen costs caused by changes in economic conditions. .

If the contingency funds are needed, "we will come forward and ask for it and expect for it to be provided," said Todd Grams, VA's chief financial officer.

Top line funding would increase 4 percent from $124.3 billion to $129.0 billion.

VA is seeking $52.5 billion in advanced appropriations for its medical programs in 2013.

Also proposed for 2012:

$183 million to launch a paperless claims processing system.

A reduction in construction funding down 4 percent from nearly $2.0 billion in 2010 to $1.3 billion. Freed-up dollars would be shifted to higher-priority needs such as specialized treatment veterans with brain injuries, support for veterans' caregivers and expanded services for homeless vets. Question">Sarah Chacko, Question">Nicole Blake Johnson, Question">STEPHEN LOSEY, Question">Andy Medici and Question">Sean Reilly contributed to this story.

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