Fedweek

A preliminary budget plan from the White House calls for increased spending for federal agencies virtually across the board, with a potential—but unspecified—increase in employment in areas including cybersecurity, research and other programs where additional funding would be targeted.

The document proposes $769 billion in non-defense discretionary funding in the fiscal year starting in October, a 16 percent increase, compared with $753 billion for defense programs, a 1.7 percent increase. It does not address mandatory spending nor tax policies, leaving them to the traditional detailed budget document that is yet to come and that will be considered in the congressional budget process.

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Among other things, the document seeks to: provide substantial funding boosts for agencies including the EPA and the CDC; create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health within the National Institutes of Health to focus initially on cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease; increase funding for gun violence and gender-based violence programs; increase the scientific research budgets at NASA and several other agencies; increase funding for civil rights offices across agencies; and more.

However, it contains no proposals regarding pay, benefits and workplace policies for federal employees — leaving them to the later document, as well — although it does seek to build on additional funding approved in the recent economic stimulus law affecting the federal workplace.

It would provide $364 million for GSA’s federal buildings fund above the estimated receipt level “to support additional repair and alteration projects that have been delayed due to chronic underfunding over the last decade” and $2 billion for “repairs and alterations projects that would provide more efficient office space for agencies to execute their mission, help for federal buildings to withstand the impacts of climate change; and efforts to reduce the federal government’s carbon footprint.”

GSA also would receive $300 million and a similar amount would be dedicated for other agencies to transition the federal vehicle fleet to electric vehicles.

On cybersecurity, it seeks $2.1 billion, a $110 million increase, for the DHS and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency — which received $650 million under that stimulus law — to “enhance its cybersecurity tools, hire highly qualified experts, and obtain support services to protect and defend federal information technology systems.”

It also would add $500 million for the Technology Modernization Fund, on top of the $1 billion added to the fund under the stimulus law, “to strengthen federal cybersecurity and retire antiquated legacy technology systems.”

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