President Obama will release his annual budget blueprint today, and it's widely expected to go precisely nowhere in Congress. "It's designed primarily as an appeal to his Democratic base," writes Darren Samuelsohn at Politico. But the New York Times notes that Obama is using the opportunity to address income inequality, which he's staked out as a key issue, using an idea some Republicans have floated in the past: Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for poor workers with children to the childless. To pay for the $60 billion outlay over 10 years, the budget cuts two tax breaks that benefit the wealthy.
The Wall Street Journal also believes the White House's request for $300 billion in new infrastructure spending, to be paid for with tax code reforms, could have some bipartisan appeal; several high-profile Republicans have called for the same thing. The budget is also expected to...
- Call for a major redesign of the military to shift it from a ground war footing to one targeting cyberthreats from China and Africa. The Journal calls it one of the budget's "few new proposals," but notes that Republicans are skeptical because it would reduce troop levels.
- Include new rules intended to make it harder for companies with overseas operations to dodge taxes.
- Raise the minimum wage. Obama is planning a New England tour tomorrow to campaign for raising it to $10.10 an hour, Reuters reports.
- Expand the child and dependent care tax credit to families with children under age 5, and make permanent a temporary extension to the child tax credit.
- Stick to spending caps agreed to in a bipartisan deal in September.
- Eschew entitlement reforms, which have been the centerpiece of previous, doomed attempts at grand bipartisan bargains.