Joe Biden’s first budget fuels sharply shifting health and education spending from Trump

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden has called on Congress to sharply increase spending to tackle climate change and gun violence and to support education in a budget that marks a marked departure 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 to a border wall, would increase funding for background checks on arms sales and direct a record amount for poor public schools, with each goal clashing with the previous administration.
Almost three months after the start of work consumed by the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the document offers a long-awaited overview of Biden’s agenda and starts a potentially exhausting negotiation with Congress on what will ultimately be funded.
The budget “makes things fairer,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Friday. “It injects capital into communities where capital is generally hard to come by.”
Biden would increase spending by $ 14 billion across all agencies to deal with the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, a change from the Trump administration’s rejection 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 be invested in this region to prevent asylum seekers from coming to the country. United States.
But his budget would provide no funding for building a border wall, the administration said, a priority for Trump, and would increase funding for investigations of immigration officials accused of “white supremacy.”
Among the largest proposed funding increases are $ 36.5 billion for a federal assistance program for public schools in the poorest neighborhoods, more than double the level enacted in 2021, and for research into deadly diseases other than the COVID-19 pandemic that dominated his tenure. far.
“This moment of crisis is also a time of possibility,” wrote Biden’s interim budget manager Shalanda Young in a letter to the Senate.
Biden is reportedly spending $ 6.5 billion to start a group conducting targeted research into diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, a program that reflects Biden’s long desire to use government spending to create breakthroughs in medical research.
Biden has asked for some $ 715 billion for the Defense Department, roughly even in inflation-adjusted terms with this year, and a compromise between the liberals trying to impose cuts and the 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 building “climate resilience” at 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 flexibility to decide what it wants to spend for the fiscal year starting in October. .
The White House had been delayed in producing the document, blaming resistance from politicians in 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, as part of the crackdown on individuals and businesses that do not pay their fair share of taxes.
Discretionary spending represented $ 1.6 trillion in fiscal 2020, or about a quarter of total federal spending. The remainder goes to areas deemed compulsory, including old age, disability, unemployment and medical benefits.
Each of the proposals is just the first step in a budget process that will ultimately be decided by the United States House of Representatives and Senate, where Democrats hold a simple majority.
Biden withdrew his original choice, Neera Tanden, to lead the Office of Management and Budget after struggling to gain Senate approval.
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