President Barack Obama unveiled his $3.77 trillion budget Wednesday, and a survey of CQ Roll Call beat writers turned up the following choice nuggets:
1. $78 million for asteroid retrieval. NASA wants to research robotic technology to move an asteroid closer to Earth, so that we can send astronauts to it.
2. $0 for abstinence-only sex education programs. Such programs got $5 million for grants in fiscal 2012, but the administration wants to zero them out.
3. A ban on horse meat inspections. The administration is assuming there will also be a ban on horse slaughter, and therefore no need to inspect horse meat.
4. $943 million bailout of the Federal Housing Administration. As a result of the 2008 financial and mortgage industry meltdown, the FHA continues to suffer the consequences of bad loans.
5. $7.5 million for a consumer complaint line. To be stationed at the Transportation Department for airline passengers; estimated to create one new job.
6. Require electronic filing of Senate campaign finance reports. This is a cost-effective measure long pushed for by government watchdog groups (and journalists). House candidates have been required to file reports electronically for years.
7. Less food aid from American farmers. The administration still would require 55 percent of foreign food aid to be bought in the U.S. but it wants more flexibility to buy locally in the regions where the U.S. is providing food for refugees or those affected by famine.
8. $78 billion tax hike on tobacco products. Obama’s proposal to extend preschool programs for children under age 4 would be financed by increasing the federal tax on tobacco products by 94 cents, resulting in nearly $80 billion over 10 years.
9. Selling the Tennessee Valley Authority. The administration says it “intends to undertake a strategic review of options for addressing TVA’s financial situation, including the possible divestiture of TVA, in part or as a whole.”
Gauthem Nagesh, Kate Ackley, Emma Dumain, Emily Cadei, Nathan Hurst, Steven T. Dennis, Kerry Young and Emily Ethridge contributed to this report.
From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.