Government Bytes


The Spending Proposals in Obama's Agenda for a Possible 2nd Term

by Demian Brady / /

Over the course of this election season, NTUF has completed several candidate agenda analyses. In the course of our research, we look for any spending-related issues and policies that candidates are promising to work on if elected. After conducting these studies over several election cycles now, we've found that incumbent politicians running for re-election or a new seat will often highlight their record rather than what they intend to do. President Obama had been facing criticism for this, even though he did highlight a number of issues on his campaign website. He eventually put out a pamphlet with some additional policy proposals. NTUF has not analyzed an incumbent President's agenda because his Administration is responsible for putting out a detailed budget with plans and projections for a ten-year period. The latest budget projections were released in the Fiscal Year 2013 Midsession Review: Budget of the U.S. Government.

Given the questions about his possible second term agenda, I took a look at the spending proposals that Obama has highlighted on his campaign website and in the new pamphlet. With one exception, these are all proposals that the President has previously introduced in his budget. The one item I hadn't heard from the Administration before is a call to open up areas of the Arctic Ocean for oil exploration and development.

Below are the highlights and, where possible, annualized cost estimates for the President's campaign issues. The estimates either came from the Administration's own budget documents or Congressional Budget Office estimates for related legislation that has been scored in NTUF's BillTally program. BillTally tracks the cost of bills sponsored or cosponsored by each Member of Congress. A more detailed document, including links to the President's quotations and to the sources for all of the cost estimates, is available here. A look at the President's "deficit reduction plan" will follow in a separate blog post. [Update: an attempt to track down the numbers in the "$4 trillion deficit reduction plan" is available here.]

Economy, Transportation, and Infrastructure:

  • Create an Infrastructure Bank: $302 million ($1.51 billion over five years).
  • Create National Network for Manufacturing Innovation: $168 million ($839 million over five years).
  • Enact a Refundable Tax Credit for New Jobs and Wage Increases: $615 million (first-year cost).
  • Forge a New Trans-Pacific Partnership: Unknown.
  • Rebuild American Infrastructure: $7.832 billion ($39.16 billion over five years).
  • Train Workers through Partnerships between Community Colleges and Employers: $1.933 billion ($7.733 billion over four years).

Education, Science, and Research:

  • Create Incentives to Keep Tuition Down: $200 million ($1 billion over five years).
  • Double the Number of Work-Study Jobs: : $149 million (first-year cost).
  • Expand Race to the Top: $301 million (first-year).
  • Expand College Scholarships: $113 million ($563 million over five years).
  • Improve Teacher Quality: $1.583 billion ($4.75 billion over three years).
  • Increase Federal Spending on Basic Research: $576 million (first-year cost).
  • Recruit and Prepare 100,000 Math and Science Teachers: $1 billion (first-year cost).
  • Reduce Student Loan Interest Rates: Unknown.
  • Teacher Stabilization: $6 billion ($30 billion over five years).

Energy, Agriculture, and the Environment:

  • End “Subsidies” for Oil and Invest in Cleaner Energy Sources: $135 million (first-year cost).
  • Open Up Federal Territory in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic for Oil Exploration and Development: Unknown.
  • Set a Clean Energy Standard: Unknown.

Government Reform:

  • Expand Federal Employee Benefits to Domestic Partners: $39 million ($196 million over five years).

Homeland Security and Law Enforcement:

  • Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Unknown.
  • Pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act: $50 million ($248 million over five years).
  • Provide State Grants for First Responders: $998 million ($4.99 billion over five years).


  • Protect and Strengthen Social Security: Unknown.


See here for complete documentation and sources.