Biden budget proposal to address ‘legacy of chronic underinvestment’ in $1.52 trillion funding request

Joe Biden’s administration has proposed a 16 per cent increase in domestic spending as part of his federal budget proposal to address “a legacy of chronic underinvestment” within the US, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

A look at the president’s budget priorities for the coming fiscal year, set to begin in October, includes investments in efforts to combat the climate crisis, reduce poverty and expand housing as part of a $1.52 trillion request to Congress.

The administration’s budget outlook – previewed by an administration official with proposed boosts in spending to several social services agencies – aims to reverse cuts and spending priorities under former president Donald Trump.

“The president is focused on reversing this trend and reinvesting in the foundations of our strength,” Ms Psaki told reporters on Friday.

The request – following the administration’s promotional tour for his sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure plan – provides an overview of the president’s spending agenda and how the administration will guide Congress in its funding plans.

Mr Biden is requesting a significant increase in education spending, including a $20bn for schools in areas with high levels of poverty.

Support for federal housing programmes would also get a $9bn increase, with boosts to voucher assistance programmes and efforts to combat homelessness following a spike in nationwide rates of people experiencing homelessness following the pandemic.

The public health crisis from the coronavirus has also prompted spending boosts for global health efforts, including $1bn towards efforts to prevent and adequately respond to pandemic outbreaks.

M r Biden’s proposal also would give a 25 per cent boost totalling more $131bn to the Department of Health and Human Services Department, as well as a $1.6bn increase to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Spending on climate and environmental efforts would add $14bn above 2021 budget levels to be spread across federal agencies, including $11.2bn for the Environmental Protection Agency, which Mr Trump also sought to undermine during his administration.

Ms Psaki said a full budget will be released later this spring.

The federal government does not have a budget director, which helms the White House agency of the Office and Management and Budget, after Biden nominee Neera Tanden withdrew her name from consideration following opposition to her appointment among members of Congress.

Shalanda Young, who was appointed by Mr Biden as the agency’s deputy director, is serving as an acting director.

The budget outline also includes $715bn for military spending.

“We believe it provides a robust funding level for the armed forces,” Ms Psaki said.

The US Department of Defense has said the budget allotment addresses “threats to readiness, including hate group activity within the military, and prioritising strong protections against harassment and discrimination” as well as Pentagon efforts to “defend the nation and take care of our people”.

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