Just as Congress was leaving town for Memorial Day weekend, President Joe Biden released his proposed budget for FY 2022. The president’s budget is not legislation. It offers a blueprint for putting the administration’s vision into action. So how did the Biden budget compare with FCNL’s budget priorities?
Where the Biden Budget and FCNL’s Priorities Align
Reverses years of disinvestment in critical human needs programs by raising such spending by 16.5%.
For example, the Biden budget proposes major investments for low-income housing assistance, which would provide 200,000 additional rental housing vouchers in the coming year. It also makes big investments in Indian Country, increasing funding for the Bureau of Indian Affairs by more than 21%, allocating over $110 million more for the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), and providing a historic 36% increase for the Indian Health Service.
Goes bold in rebuilding and restructuring the American economy.
The Biden budget includes the administration’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, proposals that would reorient the American economy and build a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society.
These plans would, among other provisions:
- Institute universal paid family and medical leave;
- Ensure no family has to pay more than seven percent of its income on childcare;
- Fund universal broadband;
- Invest in pre-K and community college;
- Invest heavily in traditional infrastructure;
- Put $81 billion towards job training, apprenticeships, and subsidized jobs, targeting traditionally disenfranchised communities;
- Extend the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit improvements.
Moreover, the administration does this with an emphasis on addressing the climate crisis, environmental justice and racial justice.
Pays for these priorities by bringing more fairness and equity to the tax code.
The Biden budget directly pays for the policies included in the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan by raising taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations. Fifty-five Fortune 500 corporations paid no taxes last year despite making over $40 billion in profits. In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, the combined wealth of U.S. billionaires grew nearly 45% while so many struggled to pay for rent and groceries.
Recommits to peacebuilding, diplomacy and multilateralism.
President Biden’s blueprint envisions a much more robust role for peaceful approaches to the world by proposing an 11% increase in funding for the State Department, USAID and related civilian agencies. It requests full payment of U.S. assessed dues to the United Nations, plus an extra $300 million to start paying off peacekeeping arrears.
The Complex Crises Fund, which supports efforts to prevent and transform violent conflict, would reach its highest levels since the Obama years. And the State Department would get $49 million, more than double last year’s amount, to broaden recruitment, diversity, and inclusion programs.
Where the Biden Budget Fails:
Overspends on wasteful, unnecessary, dangerous and immoral Pentagon programs.
Biden’s proposed $12 billion increase would bring the budget for the Department of Defense and related nuclear programs to $753 billion.
There would be no peace dividend from the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is scheduled to be complete before the new fiscal year begins. And despite running on a platform opposing new nuclear weapons, Biden is pushing full steam ahead on nuclear modernization, initiating research into a new submarine-launched cruise missile and nearly doubling funding for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. Unsurprisingly, major weapons contractors are reported to be very happy with this proposal.
Continues harmful funding for immigrant detention and border militarization.
Biden’s budget includes funding for 30,000 people in immigrant detention a day, which is twice the number of people that were in detention when President Biden took office. The budget also proposes $1.2 billion for border infrastructure and increases funding for border patrol by $300 million over last year’s levels.