Biden Submits Budget Proposal
Joe Biden submitted a spending plan for 2022 to Congress on Friday seeking approval for $1.5 trillion, hoping to put generous sums into domestic affairs after already allotting $1.9 trillion to Americans in his coronavirus relief package. This is in addition to the latest push from Biden for another $2 trillion spending package on infrastructure just last week.
Biden’s proposal Friday is an early draft with room still to be adjusted. The fiscal year does not begin until October, leaving the president roughly six months to tweak the budget and meet approval. The first place he may want to start is with defense spending.
Of the $1.5 trillion Biden is asking for, $769 billion is proposed to be spent on the defense budget. Unsurprisingly, this has been met with criticism. Alabama’s Richard Shelby, top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke out against what he sees as a restrictive budget. “That signals weakness to China and Russia…we’ve just spent several trillion dollars domestically…shortchanging America’s defense in the process is unacceptable and dangerous.”
Conversely, House Democrats feel that this defense budget is too high. 50 House Democrats banded together, led by Barbara Lee (CA) and Mark Pocan (WI), and sent Biden a letter last month, urging him to focus government funds elsewhere. “Hundreds of billions of dollars now directed to the military would have greater return if invested in diplomacy, humanitarian aid, global public health, sustainability initiatives, and basic research,” it said.
The rest of Biden’s spending plan has yet to drum up significant criticism. The president seeks to heavily invest in schools and science, with hopes of creating a stronger foundation for the nation to grow from. Press Secretary Jenn Psaki took jabs at Donald Trump, referring to Biden’s proposal as “[an] indication of our priorities,” and “reinvesting in the foundations of our strength” after inheriting “a legacy of chronic underinvestment.” Donald Trump and many of his supporters would strongly argue the opposite, emphasizing Biden’s push for “woke politics” everywhere instead of practicality.
Under Biden’s spending plan, Title I schools would see drastic increase in funding, jumping $20 billion to a record $36.5 billion. Schools whose student body comes from at least 40% low-income families are eligible for Title I funds; this money is intended to fund schoolwide programs that would enrich all students’ lives, but with the ultimate goal of raising the floor and helping the lowest-achieving students.
The federal Head Start program would also see an increase in funding. Nearly 100,000 fewer children are assisted there now than ten years ago, and Biden hopes to assist more low-income families with early education by injecting $11.9 billion into the program: an extra $1.2 billion over last year.
The National Institutes of Health is on the receiving end of $9 billion. $6.5 billion of this sum is set for a new development, the Advanced Research Project Agency-Health, which would focus on cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s research.
Several other agencies including NASA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Department of Agriculture would also see significant boosts. The same cannot be said for law enforcement or homeland security needs, however. It is now in the hands of Congress to determine what, if anything, needs to be adjusted.