WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday announced an $8.8 billion boost in the president’s 2011 budget to support military families.
The biggest increases would be for child care, counseling and other services.
Mrs. Obama spent her first year in the White House visiting military installations and talking to military families about their needs and concerns, then sharing what she heard with her staff and members of the administration.
Nearly $2 billion would provide more help to families, ranging from financial counseling to relocation assistance. More than $1 billion would expand child care services at centers in the U.S. and overseas.
President Barack Obama also put $84 million in his budget for career development for military spouses, including tuition assistance and a federal internship program. The budget also includes more money for youth programs for military kids, for renovation and construction of new Defense Department schools and for Coast Guard housing.
“These are all major investments,” Mrs. Obama said at a luncheon for military spouses at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington. “They are the result of military families speaking up and being heard. And they are part of a larger, ongoing commitment to care for our troops and their families even after the fighting ends.”
In his State of the Union address Wednesday night, Obama is expected to propose a three-year freeze in discretionary federal spending. Veterans and defense programs would be exempt.
Obama is expected to send his budget blueprint to Congress on Feb. 1.