Biden budget includes his big-ticket spending plans, would boost health, education funding

  • Biden's budget incorporates his two signature domestic proposals, the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan, neither of which has been seriously debated by Congress yet. 
  • The topline budget request for 2022 is $6 trillion. But of this, only $300 billion is new spending requested for next year.
  • It also factors in an increase in the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden released his Fiscal Year 2022 budget request to Congress on Friday, the first formal budget of his presidency and a sharp departure from his predecessor, Donald Trump. 

Biden's budget incorporates his two signature domestic proposals, the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan, neither of which has been seriously debated by Congress yet. 

It also illustrates how different Biden's priorities are from Trump's. For example, it requests an increase of 41% for the Department of Education over last year, plus 23% more for the Department of Health and Human Services, and 22% more for the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which carried out Trump's aggressive immigration policies, would decrease by a tenth of a percent. Another Trump priority, the Department of Defense, would see an increase in funding of just 2%. 

The topline budget request for 2022 is $6 trillion. But of this, only $300 billion is new spending requested for next year. Instead, the vast majority of it will be spent on programs the government is obligated by law to fund, like Medicare, Social Security and interest on the national debt. 

Another $1.5 trillion will be spent on discretionary items, which includes the funding of federal agencies. Approximately half of that is already marked for the Defense Department, with the rest to be split among the dozens of federal agencies and departments. 

On the pay-for side, Biden's budget incorporates a wide variety of changes to the tax code that the White House says can fund his multi-trillion dollar domestic spending plans. Chief among these are an increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, as well as increased IRS enforcement and higher taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers. 

The tax changes also include a set of "Made in America" tax changes that penalizes U.S. companies for offshoring jobs, especially to make goods that are then sold back to American consumers. 

Like most presidential budgets, the White House relies on optimistic projections of unemployment rates and GDP growth to argue that the expensive spending plans will pay for themselves in increased growth.

Unemployment, the White House projects, will fall to 4.7% by the end of the year, 4.1% in 2022, and 3.8% the following year. After that, they project it will remain at 3.8% for the ensuing seven years.

Speaking to reporters prior to the release of the plan Friday, Cecelia Rouse, the chair of Biden's Council of Economic Advisers, said that historically low interest rates make now an ideal time for the federal government to take on additional debt to modernize the economy and expand the social safety net. 

The White House projects that over time, Biden's proposals would increase productivity and consumer spending enough to pay for themselves, and eventually decrease the deficit in 15 years. 

Biden's budget has already come under scrutiny from some progressives, who note that it does not include a healthcare public option, which was one of Biden's campaign pledges. 

White House officials said Biden would instead look to Congress to help him create a public option, and to pass a bill that permits Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices. 

In a statement, the president said the document is "a budget for what our economy can be, who our economy can serve, and how we can build it back better by putting the needs, goals, ingenuity, and strength of the American people front and center."

You can read the president's entire budget here.

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