Obama calls budget 'roadmap for creating jobs'

(AP) President Barack Obama is sending Congress a $3.9 trillion election-year budget that would funnel money into road building, education and other programs aimed at bolstering the economy and creating jobs.

From its tax boosts on the wealthy to its spending for pre-school and job training, the budget introduced Tuesday gives Democrats a playbook illustrating their campaign-season theme of closing the widening income gap between rich and poor.

However, election-year pressures and gridlock between the Democratic-run Senate and Republican-led House mean much of Obama's proposals will go nowhere. Many of the proposals were in earlier budgets and ignored.

Obama's blueprint is for fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1, and would leave a federal deficit that year of $564 billion. That would be well below the recession-driven record worst of $1.4 trillion in 2009.

The Pentagon is unveiling a proposed 2015 defense budget that shrinks the armed forces while keeping a commitment to support European allies at a time of tension over Russia's military involvement in Ukraine.

In previewing the budget plan last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said his priority is to reshape the military for what he called a more volatile and unpredictable world, taking into account shrinking budgets.

In announcing details Tuesday, the Pentagon said its 2015 base budget would be $496 billion, unchanged from this year. The Army would shrink from 490,000 active-duty soldiers to 440,000-450,000 over the coming five years - the smallest since 1940, prior to the buildup for World War II.

The budget retains a commitment to NATO and to building a missile defense system in Europe.


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