May 6, 2021 - Douglas Myser

Biden details how to pay for proposal. Biden's plans represent a sharp break with the policies of President Trump, whose budget proposals prioritized military spending and border security, while seeking to cut funding in areas like environmental protection. Among its major new spending initiatives, the plan would dedicate an additional $20 billion to help schools that serve low income children and provide more money to students who have experienced racial or economic barriers to higher education. It would create a multibillion dollar program for researching diseases like cancer and add $14 billion to fight and adapt to the damages of climate change. It would also seek to lift the economies of Central American countries, where rampant poverty, corruption and devastating hurricanes have fueled migration toward the southwestern border, and a variety of initiatives to address homelessness and housing affordability, including on tribal lands. And it asks for an increase of about 2 percent in spending on national defense. Biden details how to pay for proposal.

Administration officials would not specify whether that increase would result in higher federal deficits in their coming budget proposal, but promised the full budget would "address the overlapping challenges we face in a fiscally and economically responsible way." Congress still must approve the budget, and in recent years, have been hesitant to allow domestic proposals to gain much steam at all. But Biden's plan, while incomplete as a budget, could provide a blueprint for Democrats who narrowly control the House and Senate and are anxious to reassert their spending priorities after four years of a Republican White House. Democratic leaders in Congress hailed the plan and suggested they would incorporate it into government spending bills for the 2022 fiscal year. The plan "proposes long overdue and historic investments in jobs, worker training, schools, food security, infrastructure and housing," said Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the chairman of the appropriations committee. Republicans criticized the proposal as skeletal in detail while calling it an overreaching expansion of the federal government. They also said the administration was not spending enough on defense to counter a growing threat from China.