The budget again floats new fees for the oil and gas industry to pay for the processing of permits and would impose fees on leased parcels where no production is occurring. Officials say the fees would save an estimated $250 million a year and expedite drilling on public lands, but the ideas have made little headway in Congress.
The budget includes $240 million for the agency that oversees offshore drilling, a 10 percent increase over current spending. Officials say the increase would enable the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to improve its response to oil spills, allow for more safety inspections and improve investigations and enforcement.
The budget also boost funding for the America's Great Outdoors initiative, an Obama program intended to promote outdoor recreation in national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.
In a move sure to irk coal-state lawmakers, Obama again calls for changing a fee system designed to clean up abandoned coal mines. States with no abandoned mines would not receive payments.___ Agency: Health and Human Services Total Spending: $949.9 billion Percentage Change from 2013: 5.4 percent increase Discretionary Spending: $78.3 billion Mandatory Spending: $871.6 billion Highlights: The rollout of Obama's health care law next year drives spending increases in the Health and Human Services budget, but the president is also proposing to trim Medicare costs as he tries to draw Republicans into negotiations to reduce government red ink. Ninety percent of HHS spending is "mandatory," meaning it goes for benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid that aren't subject to routine annual budgeting in Congress. Under Obama's health care law, Medicaid spending will rise significantly next year as the program is opened up to low-income people who aren't currently eligible, mainly adults with no children living at home. Middle-class people who don't get coverage on the jobs will be eligible for tax credits to help them buy private health insurance, but those costs aren't reflected in the HHS budget under government accounting practices.