The Army would shrink to 440,000-450,000 by 2019, making it the smallest since just before the U.S. entered World War II. The Navy would keep its 11 aircraft carrier strike groups. The Air Force would retire its entire fleet of A-10 “Warthog” close-air support aircraft as well as its U-2 high-altitude spy planes. The Marine Corps would shrink from 190,000 troops to 182,000.
A number of proposals in the Pentagon budget are almost certain to face opposition in Congress, including a call for authority to close domestic military bases that the Pentagon says are unneeded. Many in Congress also are expected to oppose efforts by the Pentagon to save money by slowing the growth of military pay and requiring military members to pay a small portion of their housing costs, which currently are wholly subsidized by the government.
The Pentagon says it will have to make even steeper reductions in troop strength and in other areas after 2015 if Congress does not act to prevent a return to the mandatory across-the-board budget reductions known as sequestration in 2016.
Discretionary spending: $68.6 billion
Percentage change from 2014: 1.9 percent increase
Highlights: President Barack Obama’s goal is to expand high quality early childhood programs. In particular, he’s sought to create universal pre-K programs for 4-year-olds.
His budget would provide $1.3 billion to states to roll out “preschool for all” programs aligned with school systems funded by a tobacco tax hike as part of a 10-year, $75 billion plan. The Education Department would share costs with states to provide universal access to low- and moderate-income families and provide incentives to states to serve additional children. Also, it would provide $750 million in grant dollars to support states’ efforts to enhance or expand preschool programs - with $250 million of it coming from the “opportunity” initiative.
The plan also would create a new “Race to the Top Equity and Opportunity” competition funded at $300 million that would seek to encourage support for high-needs students. The plan also would increase funding toward programs in areas such as improving school safety and training for teachers using digital technology.
On making college more affordable, Obama’s budget would provide billions of dollars for new programs that would reward colleges that enroll and graduate a significant number of low- and moderate-income students on time, encourage states to improve their public higher education systems and create a competition focused on improving historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions.
It would also fund $100 million for a “First in the World” competition focused on innovation in higher education and additional spending toward “pay as you earn” efforts to help needy student loan recipients pay back their debt.
Discretionary spending: $27.9 billon