WASHINGTON – Here are details of President Bush's budget for the major federal agencies. Spending is the total amount proposed for the agency in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The percentage change is based on 2007 spending estimated by the Bush administration; 2007 spending levels for most federal agencies still have not been enacted by Congress. Mandatory spending is the amount required by programs, like Medicare and Food Stamps, where the government is legally bound to make payments to all eligible recipients.
Spending: $36.2 billion
Percentage Change from 2007: +7.1 percent
Mandatory Spending: $949 million
• Would remove limits on the number of housing vouchers distributed under the Section 8 program, which provides housing assistance to more than 2 million low-income families.
HUD estimates that as many 180,000 additional aid payments could be issued if the limits are removed.
• Would encourage local housing agencies to issue more Section 8 vouchers by linking the size of their administrative budgets to the number of vouchers they distribute.
Under the current voucher system, local housing agencies can distribute only a set number of vouchers, even if they have enough money to issue more. Some agencies have more money than they need for their allotted vouchers, while other agencies don't have enough money to pay for all of their allotted vouchers.
Democrats in Congress have called for rewriting the distribution formula to address the inequities.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning Washington think tank, estimates that the current distribution formula has resulted in the loss of about 150,000 vouchers since 2004.
The center estimates that it would cost about $16.5 billion in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 to fully fund all the authorized Section 8 vouchers. The Bush administration proposed spending $16 billion on the program.
Agency: Department of the Treasury
Spending: $525.9 billion
Percentage change from 2007: +6.9 percent
Mandatory Spending: $513.8 billion
• The biggest chunk of the department's mandatory spending — roughly $470 billion — goes to pay interest on the national debt, including obligations related to Social Security.
• The bulk of the department's $12.1 billion in discretionary spending goes to the Internal Revenue Service, which would receive $11.1 billion, slightly more than the administration estimates the IRS will spend in 2007. To step up IRS' efforts to catch tax scofflaws and crack down on dubious tax schemes, the budget would increase enforcement funding by $440 million, That includes $291 million for new enforcement initiatives. An administration priority is reducing the "tax gap," which is the difference between taxes paid and taxes owed. That gap accounts for an estimated $290 billion a year in lost revenue.
• The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network would receive $86 million, up from the $71 million the administration estimates the agency will spend this year. The agency is responsible for making sure the nation's financial system isn't abused by terrorist financiers, drug dealers and other criminals.
Agency: Department of Justice
Spending: $23.3 billion
Percentage change from 2006: +2.2 percent
Mandatory Spending: $2.9 billion
• Asks for an additional $257 million for counterterror investigations — an increase of 13 percent — and $7 million more for criminal cases investigated by the FBI. Shifts $78 million to the department's newly created National Security Division, which prosecutes terror and espionage crimes.
• Cuts grant money for community policing and helping troubled juveniles and abused women, but adds $200 million to gangs, drugs, illegal gun activity and other violent crime in cities.
Prosecutors in the 94 U.S. attorneys' offices nationwide would see more money — about $171 million — to help with a 4 percent workload increase over the last year. Additionally, Justice Department lawyers who manage hundred of thousands of applications annually for pardons and immigration appeals would get about $31 million more.
The budget also would put more money — about $13 million — back into the department's information-sharing systems after they were cut by 28 percent this year. Additionally, it would cut $7 million from a program that compensates people who have been exposed to radiation by working with, mining or transporting nuclear materials.
Agency: Department of Defense
Spending: $624.6 billion
Percentage change from 2007: +4.1 percent
Mandatory Spending: $1.8 billion
• Includes for the first time an administration estimate of war costs, put at $141.7 billion for 2008. That includes $37.6 billion to repair or replace equipment destroyed or damaged in combat and to "reset" the force to a ready warfighting condition. It is in addition to $481.4 billion to run the department.
• Increases pay for military members by 3 percent.
• Adds $4 billion to continue the effort to reduce the threat to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan from roadside bombs, or improvised explosive devices, that account for about 70 percent of U.S. battlefield casualties.
• Gives the Army, which is bearing the largest share of the war-fighting burden, the largest percentage increase in its budget — 20.4 percent — to $130.1 billion. The Air Force would get an 8 percent increase, to $136.6 billion; the Navy's budget would rise by 9 percent, to $119.3 billion, and the Marine Corps would rise 4.3 percent, to $20.5 billion.
The budget attempts to account for the heavy strain on the military from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by adding $12 billion to increase the size of both the Army and the Marine Corps, while continuing to spend billions on new Air Force planes like the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, as well as missile defense.
The overall weapons-buying budget would total $101.7 billion, up 20.4 percent from 2007.
The money proposed specifically for war-fighting includes $1.7 billion to help coalition allies in Iraq and Afghanistan carry out their security and stabilization missions, plus $1 billion that commanders in Iraq are allowed to use on local projects.
Agency: Department of State
Spending: $37.4 billion
Percentage Change from 2007: +12.9 percent
Mandatory Spending: -$110 million
• Proposes further cuts in support for anti-drug efforts in South America. The administration would spend $443 million on drug eradication and antitrafficking efforts in the Andean region, down from $570 million this year. The program benefiting Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela and Panama received $760 million in 2006.
• More than doubles request for an international aid and good government program called the Millennium Challenge Corporation. It would increase from $1.1 billion to $3 billion.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation doles out U.S. foreign aid using business principles, setting fiscal and other benchmarks for developing nations to meet. The MCC has signed agreements with 11 nations totaling $3 billion: Madagascar, Cape Verde, Honduras, Nicaragua, Georgia, Armenia, Vanuatu, Benin, Ghana, Mali, and El Salvador.
Agency: Department of Veteran Affairs
Spending: $84.4 billion
Percentage change from 2007: +13.3 percent
Mandatory Spending: $44.9 billion
• Percentage increase in overall spending is the largest for a federal agency.
• Proposes higher health care enrollment fees for veterans whose incomes are above certain levels and who have no illnesses or injuries that resulted from their military service. Congress has previously rejected similar proposals.
• For the same veterans, seeks to increase copayments on prescription drugs. Similar plans have been rejected by Congress.
• Raises spending on medical care from $29.3 billion to $34.2 billion. About $3 billion would go to mental health care as veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan report increased symptoms of stress or other mental disorders.
• Anticipates VA will provide medical care to nearly 263,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in 2008.
• Devotes $1.9 billion to information technology, an increase after last year's budget was cut to $1.1 billion. Of that, $70.1 million would be spent on data security.
Much of the VA's spending increase would meet growing costs of treating combat-injured troops and other health care for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, a need that Democrats say repeatedly has not been met by the Bush administration.
The department also is boosting information technology spending, much of it on data security, following last May's theft of a VA data analyst's laptop containing sensitive information on 26.5 million veterans. The laptop was later recovered intact, but VA Secretary Jim Nicholson has since pledged to make the agency a "gold standard" in IT.
"This landmark budget will allow us to expand the three core missions of the VA — those being to provide world-class health care; broad, fair and timely benefits; and dignified burials in shrine-like settings for our nation's veterans," Nicholson said.
Agency: Department of Energy
Spending: $21.6 billion.
Percentage change from 2007: +5.4 percent
Mandatory Spending: -$2.7 billion.
• Devotes almost a third of the department's budget, $6.5 billion, to maintaining the country's nuclear weapons stockpile and research laboratories.
• Proposes $385 million for advanced coal technology, a 40 percent drop. The request includes $108 million for FutureGen, an experimental project to develop a zero-emissions coal plant.
• Requests $179 million, about double this year's spending, for research into biofuels, especially development of cellulosic ethanol as a substitute for gasoline.
• Continued funding, $495 million, for a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain in Nevada with plans to ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an operating permit next year. Also requests $802 million, nearly double from this year, for advanced nuclear power research, including reactor fuel reprocessing.
• Would spend $1.7 billion, slightly more than this year, for nuclear nonproliferation programs, including efforts to combat nuclear smuggling and safeguard nuclear materials in Russia.
The budget reiterates the president's goal to cut gasoline use by 20 percent over the next decade. Despite an increase in ethanol research and $81 million to accelerate work into gas-electric hybrid cars, the department's overall energy efficiency and renewable budget remains essentially constant at $1.24 billion.
The department's spending on nuclear weapons, $6.5 billion, includes money for two long-term programs — creating a more robust warhead, and consolidating the sprawling weapons complex to fewer sites.
Agency: Homeland Security Department
Spending: $34.6 billion
Percentage Change from 2007: -8 percent
Mandatory Spending: $81 million
• The Administration says that when emergency hurricane funding and borrowing authority for communications systems upgrades are excluded, homeland security spending next year would increase by 8 percent.
• Provides $13 billion to strengthen border security and immigration enforcement, including another $1 billion installment for the construction of both electronic and physical fencing on the southwest border. That program, called the Secure Border Initiative, or SBInet, has received criticism from the department's inspector general who found management controls are inadequate.
• Provides $3.5 billion to pay for 3,000 new Border Patrol agents and 950 new beds for detaining illegal immigrants until they can be returned across the border. The administration's goal is to double the size of the Border Patrol, to 18,000 agents, from the 9,096 on the rolls in 2001. The 2008 budget request would bring that goal within striking distance, to 17,819.
• Allocates $2 billion in grants to increase preparedness by police, fire departments, and other emergency first responders.
• Provides $562 million for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, a 17 percent increase over the current year. The DNDO was set up in 2005 to coordinate efforts to detect and respond to attempts to bring into the country or assemble a nuclear or radiological weapon.
• Provides $178 million to deploy radiation monitors at ports, raising the percentage of cargo screened to 98 percent by the end of the year.
• Allocates $30 million for new detectors around the largest cities and busiest seaports, to detect nuclear or radiological materials.
• Provides $462 million to continue upgrading the screening of all visitors entering and leaving the country, including $228 million to move from a two-fingerprint to a ten-fingerprint system of identification.
Agency: Department of Education
Spending: $62.6 billion
Percentage change from 2007: -5 percent
Mandatory Spending: $6.6 billion
• Would spend $13.9 billion, an estimated 9 percent increase, on the Title I program, which goes to high-poverty elementary and secondary schools.
• Would eliminate more than three dozen programs and redirect $2.2 billion to other administration priorities within the department, such as the No Child Left Behind law. It aims to get all students on grade level in reading and math by 2014.
• Would spend $300 million on two programs that allow students in troubled schools to use federal dollars to go to private schools or get intensive tutoring.
• Would increase the maximum Pell grant award, which goes to the poorest college students, from $4,050 to $4,600 and ultimately to $5,400 over five years. A separate grant program for poor college students would be eliminated under the proposed budget.
The administration is urging Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind law this year. President Bush signed it into law in 2002. Funding for the law would increase by a little more than $1 billion, with an emphasis on boosting aid for low-income high school students.
The budget proposal includes items not likely to be favored by the Democratic controlled Congress, including allowing private-school vouchers and trimming spending on vocational education.
Spending: $699 billion.
Percentage Change from 2007: +8.7 percent.
Mandatory Spending: $629.7 billion.
• Seeks to slow the growth of the government's health care program for seniors and the disabled by giving hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies and other providers smaller annual payment increases when they serve Medicare patients. Also, calls for wealthier beneficiaries to pay higher monthly premiums. The changes would save $66 billion over five years by lowering the program's growth rate to 6.7 percent annually.
• Lowers funding by about $500 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is the principal agency for protecting the health and safety of all Americans. Grants to states for bioterrorism preparation would be reduced, and funding would remain at current levels for preventing the nation's leading health problems, heart disease and cancer.
• Includes nearly $1.2 billion to prepare for a potential influenza pandemic. The spending would essentially complete the $7.1 billion that the president sought over a three-year period.
• Proposes changes in the way health insurance is taxed by treating premiums as income, but offering a standard deduction of $15,000 for families and $7,500 for individuals.
The budget seeks to slow the growth of entitlement programs, Medicare and Medicaid, which account for $1 out of every $4 spent by the federal government, and are projected to generate enormous deficits in coming decades. Meanwhile, discretionary spending for research, social services and public health grants would remain essentially flat.
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Spending: $90.9 billion
Percentage change from 2007: +3.6 percent
Mandatory Spending: $70.7 billion
• Would let more elderly and working poor qualify for food stamps by excluding retirement savings from income limits and letting parents deduct the full amount of child care from income calculation; proposal would cost $1.38 billion over 10 years.
• Would take away food stamps from families who qualify only because they receive other non-cash government assistance; the change could shut an estimated 185,000 people out of the food stamp program.
• Would eliminate a program that gives boxes of food to nearly half a million seniors each month, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. The program provides powdered milk, vegetables, cereal, juice, meat, fruit, rice, cheese and other food as an alternative to food stamps.
Agency: Department of Interior
Spending: $10.1 billion.
Percentage change from 2007: +4.1 percent
Mandatory Spending: -$488 million.
• Proposes $2 billion for operating the national parks, about a 12 percent increase. That includes an additional $150 million for daily park operations.
• Calls for $100 million to match citizens' contributions to national park operations, in hopes of spurring such private spending.
• Allocates $4 million for environmental studies of new areas considered for offshore oil and gas leasing, including 8 million acres Congress opened last year for drilling in the central Gulf of Mexico and leasing in Alaska's Bristol Bay.
• Provides $324 million for wetlands and other conservation programs that, in cooperation with private landowners, states and tribal governments, protect fish, migratory birds and other species.
As part of its budget, the administration asks that Congress repeal a provision passed 2005 as part of a broad energy bill that prohibits new fees for oil and gas permits on federal land. The administration estimates such fees could generate $20 million a year.
Spending: $17.3 billion
Percentage Change from 2007: +6.9 percent
Mandatory Spending: -$14 million
• Proposes $951 million for a new manned space vehicle, the Orion, in preparation for a manned mission to the Moon and later to Mars.
• Proposes $1.2 billion for the Ares I, a new rocket designed to launch the Orion.
President Bush's budget would sharpen NASA's focus on exploration, adding half a billion dollars — a 5 percent increase from last year — for new manned vehicles, the Space Shuttle, the Hubble telescope, the International Space Station and other exploration programs.
Agency: Department of Labor
Spending: $50.4 billion
Percentage change from 2007: +7.9 percent
Mandatory Spending: $39.8 billion
• Provides $313 million to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, a nearly 13 percent increase from the administration's estimate for the agency's spending in 2007. The increase would be used to strengthen enforcement, especially at the nation's more than 2,000 coal mines. It would allow the agency to keep 170 additional enforcement officials who were hired with emergency, or supplemental, funding last year. The agency said 2006 was a deadly year in mining with 47 fatalities in the coal industry, the most since 1995.
• Provides $490 million to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, up slightly from the administration's estimate of the agency's spending in 2007.
• Provides $228 million to veteran's employment and training, which is up around 2.2 percent from the administration's estimate of such spending in 2007.
• Slashes funding by nearly 81 percent for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, to $14 million from the estimated $73 million the agency will spend in 2007. The agency conducts research on and develops international economic, trade, immigration and labor policies with other government agencies.
• Cuts money going to the Office of Disability Employment Policy to $19 million from $28 million, a 32 percent reduction. The agency aims to bolster employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
• Seeks a package of legislative changes to prevent improper payments of unemployment benefits. More than $3.3 billion in benefits were mistakenly paid to ineligible workers in 2006, the administration said.
Agency: Department of Transportation
Spending: $67.4 billion
Percentage change from 2007: +2.7 percent
Mandatory outlays: $55.2 billion
• Gives $39.6 billion to the states for highway spending, $500 million more than the $39.1 billion Congress is expected to approve for 2007. It is the basic amount that Congress agreed to spend in 2008 as part of the 2005 law that funds highways for six years, but does not include an adjustment for an increase in gas tax collections. Some highway advocates say Congress intended to spend $40.4 billion by including the adjustment.
• Gives Amtrak an $800 million subsidy, $500 million less than the federal government spent on the passenger railroad in 2006. Congress is likely to freeze Amtrak spending for 2007 at 2006 levels. Another $100 million would be set aside as matching grants that the states could use for intercity passenger rail projects.
• Proposes to change the way the air traffic control system is financed. Airlines now pay for most of the system through taxes on jet fuel and tickets. Under the new plan, which Congress must approve, the government would instead collect fees that reflect the actual cost of using the national air space. The government would also be able to charge aircraft operators for flying in the most congested air space. The proposal would shift more of the burden for flying in the U.S. from airlines to private and corporate aircraft.
Agency: Commerce Department
Spending: $6.7 billion
Percentage change from 2007: -15 percent
Mandatory Spending: $132 million
• The spending reduction reflects a one-time implementation of the digital TV spectrum auction in 2007. The agency's discretionary budget, covering year-to-year programs, would increase by 16.5 percent.
• Provides $1.2 billion — of the department's $6.7 billion in discretionary spending — to the Census Bureau to continue preparing for a retooled national census in 2010. That's up substantially from the estimated $797 million the agency will spend in 2007. The bureau in 2008 will conduct a "full dress rehearsal" for the 2010 census. The bureau also will start opening offices for the rollout of nationwide field activities in 2009.
• Seeks $3.8 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, almost 13 percent more than this year's estimated spending. The increased funding would go to, among other things, improving weather forecasting and strengthening U.S. tsunami detection and warning systems.
• Provides $644 million to the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, up 15 percent from this year. Part of the additional money would pay for initiatives to boost U.S. competitiveness, including nanotechnology, neutron research and quantum information science.
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Spending: $7.1 billion
Percentage change from 2007: -4.9 percent
Mandatory Spending: -$97 million.
• Reduces agency's overall operating budget by about $100 million to $4.2 billion.
• Maintains funding for clean air and climate change programs at about $216 million.
• Includes $802 million for a revolving fund to provide loans and grants for drinking water supply systems.
• Proposes $35 million to help states clean up contaminated sediment in the Great Lakes region; and $29 million to help restore the Chesapeake Bay's water quality.
• Provides $162 million to assess 1,000 sites for cleanup under the so-called "brownfields" toxic cleanup program.
• Calls for $22 million for a pilot programs to help local water agencies develop early warning about water contamination.