At an event at Powell Elementary School in Washington, D.C., Obama said the $3.9 trillion plan followed through on his promise in February's State of the Union address to push policies that helped the middle class and fight income inequality.
“In my State of the Union address, I laid out an agenda to restore opportunity for all people, to uphold the principle that no matter who you are, no matter where you started, you can make it if you try here in America,” said Obama.
“The budget I sent Congress this morning lays out how we'll implement this agenda in a balanced and responsible way. It's a road map for creating jobs, with good wages and expanding opportunity for all Americans. And at a time when our deficit's been cut in half, it allows us to meet our obligations to future generations without leaving them a mountain of debt,” he continued.
The proposal increases spending on a number of Obama’s economic priorities, while raising taxes on higher incomes.
Obama's budget blueprint is largely symbolic with little chance lawmakers will adopt the provisions. But the plan provides the president with a critical messaging tool to promote his economic agenda and give Democrats a boost ahead of November's midterms.
Democrats were put on the back foot after the disastrous rollout of Obamacare's insurance exchanges but see Obama's populist economic message as a rallying point during the midterm campaign.
Obama’s budget would expand tax breaks and credits for working Americans, while closing tax loopholes that benefit corporations and the wealthy.
“Right now our tax system provides benefits to wealthy individuals who save, even after they've amassed multi-million dollar retirement accounts. By closing that loophole, we can help create jobs and grow the economy and expand opportunity without adding a dime to the deficit,” said Obama.
The budget also proposes investments in 45 new manufacturing institutes to boost and new funding for medical research and scientific efforts to protect the environment, investments in making preschool education accessible to all four-year-olds and more spending on training to prepare workers for their jobs. The plan also calls for $302 billion to repair the nation’s surface transportation over four years to be paid for by reforming the tax code for businesses to create more growth.
Obama has said that promoting an “opportunity agenda” will be a centerpiece of his second term.
But with the GOP-controlled House unlikely to adopt his proposals, Obama has taken a number of unilateral steps to push forward his policies, including raising the minimum wage for new federal contract workers, creating new public-private partnerships to boost manufacturing, offering grants for infrastructure development and setting tougher fuel standards for the nation's trucks.
“Our budget is about choices,” said Obama on Tuesday. “It's about our values.
“As a country, we we've got to make a decision if we're going to protects tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans or if we're going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy and expand opportunity for every American,” he said.
The president said that the American people would back his economic proposals and vowed to fight for them in an election year.
“The American people have made clear time and again which approach they prefer. That's the approach that my budget offers. That's why I'm going to fight for it this year and in the years to come as president,” he vowed.