Capitol Corner June 2021

On Friday, May 28, President Biden sent Congress a $6 trillion budget request for FY22. This is the Biden Administration’s first full budget detailing the framework version that was outlined on April 9. It is also the first budget in 10 years without spending caps in place.

The budget proposes significant increases in spending, revenue and borrowing over the next ten years. It includes a 16% increase in non-defense discretionary spending from fiscal year 2021 ($769 billion) and a 1.7% increase for defense spending ($753 billion). Debt would rise from 100 percent of GDP at the end of FY 2020 and a record 110 percent at the end of FY 2021 to 114 percent by FY 2024 and 117 percent by the end of FY 2031.

In nominal dollars, debt would grow by $17 trillion, from $22 trillion today to over $39 trillion by the end of FY 2031. Budget deficits would be nearly $1.4 trillion above current law, totaling $14.5 trillion (5.1 percent of GDP). Proposed tax hikes on corporations and top individual income would bring in $3.6 trillion.

Campaign promises were kept on proposed investments in climate, infrastructure, education and the social safety net. Across all of those areas, particular attention to economic and social disparities was along racial and ethnic lines. Other priorities in the budget proposal are:

  • $8.7 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, its largest funding increase in almost 20 years, to improve its readiness for future public health crises.
  • $2.3 trillion for infrastructure, including $115B for roads and bridges, $174B for electric vehicles, $85B to modernize transit, $111B on drinking water infrastructure and $100B to expand high-speed broadband access.
  • $5 trillion in new spending for Biden’s American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, including $200B for universal free pre-K, $109B for free community college, $85B in Pell Grants, $225B for child care and $225B for a national paid family medical leave program.
  • $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending, including major increases for the Education Dept., Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development.

The proposal is largely symbolic as the final version of the budget is expected to undergo changes as Congress takes it up. Actual agency-by-agency spending levels will be determined through the appropriations process. However, with Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress, lawmakers are more likely to adhere to the President’s priorities.