US Budget constraints limit Barack Obama's second-term agenda

Obama

The White House also tried to shift some highway programs out of the discretionary category, which would have freed up $44.5 billion over a 10-year period. Congress also rejected that idea and opted to fund highway spending with discretionary funds for at least another two years.

Many budget experts expect Congress will ultimately conclude that the spending caps are too severe to work. The drive to cut spending could abate in coming years as well if an expanding economy boosts tax revenues and narrows budget deficits.

But meanwhile, Obama will have few resources to implement his economic vision.

"When I hear an aggressive agenda for investment, given the numbers we're looking at under the Budget Control Act I tend to be highly skeptical," Minarik said.

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