- Biden unveiled an early budget proposal on Friday that would ramp up spending on education and public housing.
- Military spending would not change under Biden’s $1.5 trillion proposal, which Congress must approve.
- It proposes a $118 billion, or 16%, increase in domestic spending from Trump’s last budget.
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The White House unveiled its initial $1.5 trillion budget proposal on Friday. The plan represents a an early glimpse into President Joe Biden’s domestic spending priorities, ramping up spending on education, health, and climate initiatives while keeping military spending relatively flat.
It’s Biden’s first budgetary pitch to Congress, which can also reshape it in an aproppriations process which will likely take months.
The so-called “skinny budget” calls for an $118 billion increase in discretionary spending from fiscal year 2021 – the type of spending that lawmakers can change from one year to the next. That would be a 16% increase from current levels of domestic spending. Programs like Social Security and Medicare are not included, and will be part of a fuller spending proposal later in the spring.
The 58-page Biden blueprint includes significant spending boosts to agencies critical to achieving his domestic priorities, such as the Education Department. Other increases include:
- Department of Education (+41% from last year).
- Department of Commerce (+28%).
- Department of Health and Human Services (+23%).
- Environmental Protection Agency (+21%).
- National Science Foundation (+20%).
- Department of Defense, relatively unchanged from existing levels.
The pot of money also includes $69 billion to expand public housing. It also proposes a new medical research agency with the aim of curing diseases like cancer, Stat News reported.
In a letter to congressional leaders, acting Office Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young said the current crisis brings with it “a moment of possibility.”
“The upcoming appropriations process is another important opportunity to continue laying a stronger foundation for the future and reversing a legacy of chronic disinvestment in crucial priorities,” she wrote.
This is a sharp break from President Donald Trump’s conservative agenda. Trump’s budget plan last year sought to slash major domestic programs such as Medicaid and the size of federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency.
This budget arrives as the White House prepares to dive into congressional negotiations on its multitrillion-dollar infrastructure package, with Congress returning to session next week. Lawmakers must also strike a deal on the federal budget before funding expires at the end of September.
Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure package would allocate major funding to roads and bridges, clean energy incentives, and in-home elder care, among other measures. A second proposal of a similar size is expected later this month. These plans are separate from the White House budget plan.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that Democrats could opt to bypass Republicans to approve the package sometime in July. The GOP is strongly opposed to the scope of the plan as well as its corporate tax hikes.
“If we have to go to reconciliation, that’s a lever, but I hope it’s not something that we need to do,” Pelosi said.