President Obama will release his FY2015 budget request next Tuesday. He is expected to seek a small increase in spending as called for by the December budget deal but he will avoid any “grand bargain” proposals for steep deficit cuts. Obama’s request will stick to the $1.014 billion discretionary spending caps for FY2015 set by the budget agreement (PL 113-67), which is about $2 billion more than FY2014 and would not require any across-the-board sequester cuts.
The good news for higher education and research is that the White House will also propose a $56 billion “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative” aimed at funding research, manufacturing, education, and other priorities. The plan, which the administration said would be paid for by closing tax loopholes and changing spending programs, aims to effectively replace the remaining FY2015 sequestration cuts for nondefense discretionary programs – the programs we care about the most. The initiative would split funding evenly between defense and domestic-focused efforts, and it would create 45 new manufacturing institutes, an efficiency program focused on modernizing the electric grid, and fresh ways to boost access to pre-kindergarten programs.
Obama will release his budget in two parts with the main budget volume, key proposals, summary tables, agency-level information due March 4th, and the historical tables and analytical perspectives volume will come the following week. Shortly after that, we will finalize the UW Federal Agenda for FY2015, which will likely focus on investing in research, access to federal student aid, reauthorization of science and higher education programs, and immigration and tax reforms.