US President Joe Biden has called on Congress to sharply increase spending to tackle climate change and gun violence and support education in a budget that marks a sharp break from his predecessor, Donald Trump.
The $1.5 trillion budget, reflecting an 8% increase in base funding from the current year, would invest billions more in public transportation and environmental cleanup, cut funding for a border wall, would increase funding for background checks on gun sales and direct a record amount to poor public schools, each goal clashing with the previous administration.
Nearly three months into a consummate job of battling the Covid-19 pandemic, the document offers a long-awaited glimpse into Biden’s agenda and launches a potentially grueling negotiation with Congress over what will ultimately be funded.
The budget “makes things fairer,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Friday. “It injects capital into communities where capital is usually hard to come by.”
Biden would increase spending by $14 billion across all agencies to address the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, a change from the Trump administration’s dismissal of climate science.
The president is reportedly spending millions to deal with the growing number of unaccompanied children arriving at the country’s southern border from Central America, including $861 million to invest in that region to prevent asylum seekers from coming to the United States.
But his budget would provide no funding for the construction of a border wall, the administration said, a Trump priority, and would increase funding for investigations into immigration officials accused of “white supremacy.”
Among the largest proposed funding increases are $36.5 billion for a federal aid package for public schools in the poorest neighborhoods, more than double the level passed in 2021, and for disease research. deadly other than the COVID-19 pandemic that dominated his tenure. far.
“This moment of crisis is also a moment of possibility,” Biden’s acting budget director Shalanda Young wrote in a letter to the Senate.
Biden would spend $6.5 billion to launch a group conducting targeted research into diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, a program that reflects Biden’s longstanding desire to use government spending to creating breakthroughs in medical research.
Biden has asked for some $715 billion for the Defense Department, roughly the same in inflation-adjusted terms with this year, and a compromise between liberals trying to impose cuts and hawks who want to increase spending military.
The money earmarked for the Pentagon is aimed at deterring China, supporting the modernization of the nuclear missile inventory and boosting the “climate resilience” of military installations.
Known as a “skinny” budget, Biden’s proposal on Friday provided only cursory numbers on “discretionary” programs and departments where Congress has the ability to decide what it wants to spend for the fiscal year beginning in October. .
The White House had been delayed in producing the document, blaming resistance from politicians during Trump’s handover and denying that competing interests on issues such as military funding played a role.
The proposal does not include Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal or tax changes, an administration official said. These changes would be included in a full budget proposal to be submitted in late spring.
It includes a 10% increase in funding for the Internal Revenue Service, however, part of the push to crack down on individuals and businesses that don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
Discretionary spending accounted for $1.6 trillion in fiscal year 2020, about a quarter of total federal spending. The rest relates to areas considered compulsory, including old age, invalidity, unemployment and medical benefits.
Each of the proposals is just the first step in a budget process that will ultimately be decided in the US House of Representatives and Senate, where Democrats hold a naked majority.
Biden withdrew his original pick, Neera Tanden, to lead the Office of Management and Budget after struggling to gain Senate approval.