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5 Budget Proposals a Republican President Could Support

Copies of President Barack Obama's fiscal 2017 federal budget are seen for sale Tuesday at the U.S. Government Publishing Office. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Copies of President Barack Obama's fiscal 2017 federal budget are seen for sale Tuesday at the U.S. Government Publishing Office. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Republican presidential candidates will likely be quick to dismiss or ignore President Barack Obama’s budget, but within the lengthy blueprint are a few proposals that most GOP candidates (and both Democratic contenders) could support if they win the White House and get to craft their own budget request next year.  

Here’s five proposals from Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget that even a Republican president could embrace:

  1. Opioid Prevention and Treatment: Bipartisan calls for addressing the opioid and heroin epidemic have increased in recent months, so Obama’s budget proposal to allocate $1 billion to expand access to treatment and promote prevention strategies is likely to be well received on both sides of the aisle. In a sign that addressing the issue would also be a priority under a Republican administration, GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Monday signed on to a bipartisan bill designed to provide resources that would combat opioid abuse.
  2. Cancer Research: Obama’s budget request would create a dedicated fund for cancer research and add $1 billion to it. The funding would be directed toward research on cancer vaccines, early detection, immunotherapy, genomic analysis and enhanced data-sharing, all bipartisan priorities. While Republicans may not agree on the amount of funding, a GOP president could conceivably support a dedicated fund and be willing to allocate some federal dollars toward the cause.
  3. Criminal Justice Initiative: To build on bipartisan efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system, the administration is proposing to invest $5 billion over 10 years in a new 21st Century Justice Initiative designed to reduce crime, prevent unnecessary incarceration and overly long sentences, and build community trust in the justice system through training and oversight for local law enforcement. While Republicans may not agree with every element of the administration’s proposal or the amount of money to spend on the initiative, a GOP administration would likely share the same goal of cutting back on crime and undue punishments.
  4. Islamic State Counter Efforts: Republicans have been pushing Obama to present a detailed plan for defeating the violent terrorist group and while the budget does not fulfill that demand, they would probably support the proposed $11 billion allocation for the Defense and State departments’ efforts to find and apprehend terrorists, train and equip ground forces to fight ISIS and disrupt the terrorist group’s financing and recruiting strategies. A GOP administration would undoubtedly invest in defense, perhaps even more than what Obama is proposing.
  5. Cybersecurity Strategy: Obama is proposing to spend $19 billion to implement a Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which includes plans to modernize federal IT systems, increase cybersecurity education and training, hire experts from the private sector, and provide scholarships for students willing to work for the federal government after completing appropriate education. Republicans will not support every element of Obama’s plan, which adds layers to a government bureaucracy that they loathe, but the overarching goal to better prepare the nation to thwart increasing cybersecurity attacks is one both parties share.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.
McPherson can be reached at or follow her on Twitter @lindsemcpherson


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