WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2012 would create millions of new jobs by boosting investments in infrastructure and transportation projects, according to an estimate.
The proposal would set aside $336 billion for highways and infrastructure programs and $53 billion for a new high-speed rail system, aimed at spurring economic growth as unemployment remains high.
USA Today called it "a massive job-creation engine, with plans to generate millions of them by repairing and expanding highways, bridges and railways."
The $3.7 trillion blueprint includes an additional billions of dollars in research and development investments, which Democratic leaders characterized as helpful in promoting innovation.
On balance, the proposal aims to reduce the deficit by slashing hundreds of government programs worth hundreds of billions over the next decade. The nature of some of the cuts, such as $2.5 billion in reductions for heating subsidies for the poor, has received criticism from progressives.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Sunday on NBC that Obama's budget will "destroy jobs."
Boehner and House Republicans released their own budget blueprint, chopping billions more from Obama's plan in steep cuts to education, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal programs.
Scott Lilly, a budget expert at the liberal Center for American Progress, told the Washington Post's Dana Milbank that the GOP budget cuts would lead to a net loss of almost 1 million jobs.
"In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. If some of those jobs are lost so be it. We're broke," Boehner told reporters Tuesday.
The nonpartisan PolitiFact rated Boehner's claim that Obama has created 200,000 federal jobs as "false," citing Bureau of Labor Statistics figures to note that the net increase was 58,000 government jobs.