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An agency-by-agency guide to Obama's budget

Tuesday - 2/14/2012, 3:13am  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has proposed a $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal 2013 that aims to slash the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years but still envisions growth in the government's major health benefit programs. The agency-by-agency breakdown:


Agency: Agriculture

Spending: $154.7 billion

Percentage Change from 2012: 4.8 percent increase

Discretionary Spending: $23 billion

Highlights: Obama's budget envisions savings of $32 billion over 10 years by cutting some farm subsidies, such as eliminating direct payments, which are made regardless of price and crop yield. Other subsidies are paid only when prices dip or a farmer's revenue drops.

Obama and his Republican predecessor, President George W. Bush, have proposed similar cuts in every annual budget for the last several years to no avail as Congress has blocked their attempts. But the mood has shifted on Capitol Hill, where even farm-state lawmakers say that direct payments should be cut.

Lawmakers are supposed to consider a new five-year farm bill in 2012, though its fate is uncertain in an election year. In early negotiations last fall, farm-state members agreed to cut $23 billion over 10 years and eliminate direct payments. Obama's proposal would go even further, achieving savings through reducing subsidies to crop insurance companies and consolidating some programs aimed at protecting environmentally sensitive land.

Other cuts would come through consolidation of department offices across the country that was announced earlier this year. The department would close about 260 offices and offer early retirement and targeted buyouts of employees in more than 15 agencies and offices, reducing the USDA workforce by about 900 jobs. The department has said the consolidations and other efforts to cut administrative costs would save about $150 million a year.

The budget would increase dollars for agricultural research grants and direct loans for projects in low-income rural areas, including schools, hospitals, day care facilities, fire stations and police stations.

The administration would maintain eligibility requirements for food stamps, which cost the government an estimated $75 billion last year and are the bulk of the department's total budget. Obama's budget also proposes to continue food-stamp benefits for some adults without dependents that were scheduled to expire.


Agency: Commerce

Spending: $9.2 billion

Percentage Change from 2012: 15.6 percent increase

Discretionary Spending: $8 billion

Highlights: Obama's proposed budget would provide $708 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology laboratories with the goal of making U.S. manufacturers more competitive. The president also is calling for spending $517 million on the International Trade Administration to promote U.S. exports in key markets abroad and to improve trade enforcement.

Obama's budget blueprint calls for more than $5 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an increase of about $160 million.

The administration would increase funds for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to accelerate patent processing and improve patent quality.

Obama also wants $10 billion to help build an interoperable public safety broadband network. Those costs would be offset by auctioning spectrum used to expand wireless broadband access and services.


Agency: Defense

Spending: $677.7 billion

Percentage Change from 2012: 4 percent decrease

Discretionary Spending: $614 billion

Highlights: The cuts come as the Pentagon seeks to save about $260 billion over the next five years. Among the major cuts is a significant reduction in the size of the military over five years to save $50 billion, including slicing about 80,000 from the Army's peak size of 570,000. The budget will takes steps toward cutting eight Army combat brigades, six Marine Corps battalions and 11 fighter squadrons, and will start to pull two Army brigades out of Europe.

Ending the war in Iraq and scaling back the fight in Afghanistan will save about $26 billion by trimming operations and equipment, and cutting the costs of training and equipping the Afghan security forces by nearly half. The overall budget includes $88.5 billion for the wars. The budget assumes that the military will maintain 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through Sept. 30, 2013, but officials said that the total can be changed.

There will be limited reductions in major weapons systems over the next year as the Pentagon phases in plans to reduce the number of Navy ships and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters it will buy, and eliminates one version of the Global Hawk surveillance drone. Over the next year, the Pentagon plans to buy 29 F-35s, two less than this year, for a savings of about $75 million.

While there will be a pay raise of 1.7 percent for military personnel, the Pentagon will also begin to phase in increases in health care costs for military retirees. The increases will also be based on income, so that those who make more money will pay a bit more.

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