President Obama has sent his preliminary budget request for FY2014 to Congress as of Wednesday this week. In his release, President Obama stated that the budget would emphasize job creation, emphasize education, health care and emphasize energy independence. He replaced certain Sequestration cuts with more targeted cuts that should result in an additional $1.8 trillion cut (he stated this was a compromise offered to Speaker Boehner) that he indicated is more balanced than the sequestration cuts.
In the President's State of the Union address earlier this year he made it quite clear his priorities would center around building up the middle class in the country. President Obama said the budget proposal supported the 3 areas of emphasis from his State of the Union address:
- How do we attract more jobs to our shores?
- How do we equip our people with the skills to do those jobs?
- How do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?
Certainly the emphasis on job creation should help small business as the Obama administration has long recognized that small business is the primary engine for job creation. The emphasis in the budget for American innovation should translate into support for the SBIR/STTR programs for small business. The emphasis on energy independence should present opportunities from the Department of Energy for small business as well as the emphasis on health care provide opportunity for firms that work with the Health and Human Services Agency.
There were also rays of "sunshine" in the Department of Defense budget proposal. The Air Force and Navy budget requests included some opportunities. For instance, the proposed Air Force budget showed a "gain" of $4.65 Billion from last year's budget. This is the only DoD service that showed an increase from last year. The increase in Air Force budget is due to the increasing threats in Asia/Pacific region as compared to the ground wars of the past 10 years. Programs such as the F-35 are seen as getting more priority.
The Navy, receiving the largest amount of funding of any of the services at $155 Billion. The emphasis in the Navy's budget is modernization of the fleet as well as developing next generation technologies. The Navy is tasked with maintaining a strong forward presence, especially in light of the newer Asia/Pacific threats.
Obviously, this is just the first proposal for the FY2014 budget. There is still much negotiation and political positioning that must go on before this budget becomes final. The good news is that there appears to be some compromise and there appears to be some priorities set in this proposal as opposed to an across the board cut. Hopefully this will translate into better fiscal management in the coming year.