Obama Defends $4-Trillion Budget, Cites National Security

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President Barack Obama. (Credit: CNN)

President Obama launched Monday into the first clash in a series of budget battles as he unveiled his nearly $4-trillion spending plan, immediately calling on Republicans to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security despite their objections to his new immigration policy that the agency will carry out.

“Don’t jeopardize our national security over this disagreement,” Obama said Monday in remarks at the department. Its funding is set to expire at the end of the month. He warned Republicans not to “play politics” with economic and national security.

Obama made the push as he released a budget for fiscal 2016 aimed at securing his political position as the defender of the middle class. His plan blows past mandatory spending caps to beef up programs that benefit lower- and middle-income Americans and proposes to pay for the programs with tax hikes on the wealthiest taxpayers, major corporations and financial firms.

The document completes Obama’s shift from years of grim economic forecasts and austerity cuts into what he’s labeled “America’s resurgence.” His budget projects an unemployment rate of 5.4% in 2016 and falls to a low of 4.9% in 2017 and 2018 — before climbing slightly over the next several years.

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