- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Education and Energy departments are among the big winners in President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget, with each agency receiving a substantial boost in proposed funding.Mr. Obama plans to increase the Education Department by 4.6 percent, to $31.8 billion, including $750 million for expanded universal pre-school services. That initiative would be funded by a new tobacco tax.

The Energy Department, a source of grief in Mr. Obama’s first term with scandals such as the Solyndra loan debacle, stands to increase 8 percent in the new budget, to $28.4 billion. The White House said the increased funding would help “respond to the threat of climate change,” among other clean-energy initiatives.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development would increase its budget by 9.7 percent, to $47.6 billion. The Transportation Department’s budget would increase 5.5 percent, to $76.6 billion, while the Department of Veterans Affairs would rise 8.5 percent, to $63.5 billion. Health and Human Services would increase about 5.1 percent, to $80.1 billion.

The Justice Department’s funding would rise 3.1 percent, to $27.6 billion, including $395 million in new spending to combat gun violence.

Among the cabinet agencies that would see decreases in funding are the Defense Department, slated for a cut of 0.7 percent, or $3.9 billion.

Homeland Security also would lose funding, down 1.5 percent to $39 billion. The administration proposes to boost spending by $221 million in that agency to hire 1,600 more border patrol agents and pay for more mobile equipment for border security.

The State Department’s budget would decline by 6 percent, to $47.8 billion. But the administration said it is adding $4 billion to enhance the security of diplomatic facilities overseas, including $2.2 billion for embassy security construction, part of the recommendations of the Benghazi Accountability Review Board.

The EPA’s budget would decline by 3.5 percent in the new budget.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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