Biden’s budget proposal includes billions to counter Russian aggression and a new tax on the wealthiest Americans


By Nikki Carvajal and Maegan Vazquez, CNN

(CNN) – President Joe Biden unveiled his budget proposal for fiscal year 2023 on Monday, and while it includes increased funding for security and cuts the deficit, officials admit inflation could continue to cause problems to the global economy.

At a White House event to announce the budget, Biden said the proposal was made up of three main tenants: fiscal responsibility, safety and security, and investments to “build a better America.”

On the podium alongside Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, Biden sought to mark a shift in his administration’s approach to federal spending since the start of the pandemic, calling out his predecessor, the former President Donald Trump, for leading the federal government. deficit throughout his tenure.

“After my … predecessor’s fiscal mismanagement, we are reducing Trump’s deficits and getting our fiscal house in order,” the president said.

Biden said his proposed $1.3 trillion budget cut would be “the largest one-year deficit reduction in U.S. history.”

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, the proposed budget includes $6.9 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative and NATO and “countering Russian aggression in support of Ukraine.”

The president said his budget proposal “will be among the biggest investments in our national security in history.”

The national security spending proposal has already drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Biden’s budget was “woefully short on defense spending,” arguing that in a time of high inflation, the proposed 4% increase in military spending is equivalent to to a “real reduction in the funding of our armed forces in real dollars”. Liberals in the House and Senate, meanwhile, balked at Biden’s demand, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders saying ‘we don’t need a massive increase in the defense budget’ as the United States “already spends more on the military than the next 11 countries combined.”

The president acknowledged the criticisms in Washington that have arisen over the proposal’s defense spending, saying, “Some people don’t like the increase, but we’re in a different world today. America is more prosperous, more successful and fairer when it is safer.”

Its budget provides $3.2 billion in “discretionary resources for state and local grants” for communities to hire more police officers, and an additional $30 billion in “mandatory resources to support law enforcement, prevention of crime and intervention against community violence”.

Biden on Monday dismissed the suggestion that allocating his budget for crime intervention was a political decision.

“Isn’t that a bit fascinating? When I was first elected I was beaten because I had been too supportive of the police over the past 30 years. No, that’s what I think,” Biden said when asked if the additional funding was included due to political pressure from Republicans saying Democrats are too soft on crime.

“Looking back, what this budget shows is that we can grow the economy from the bottom up and invest in the American people, and we can do it in a smart and fiscally responsible way.” , said Shalanda Young, director of the Office. of management and budget told reporters in a call Monday morning.

“Here at home, that includes critical investments to keep our communities safe, fund crime prevention and community violence response, get more cops on the line for community policing, address gun violence and advance criminal justice reform,” she said.

Officials say the inflation estimates reflected in the budget were made in November – before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which strained the economy and raised prices everywhere. fields.

“The invasion is likely to put upward pressure on energy and food prices, which in turn could add to inflation which was already a problem before the invasion due to supply chain constraints. pandemic supply and demand for goods,” Rouse said. “Economic forecasts, if we updated them today, we would see them a little differently.”

Other demands include $10 billion in new funds for the election administration, which they say are needed to “strengthen American democracy” as it faces unprecedented threats. The money for state and local officials, if approved by Congress, would be spent over 10 years.

“Federal funding for the equipment, systems, and personnel that make up the nation’s critical election infrastructure has been episodic or crisis-driven,” the White House budget proposal says. But the $10 billion request aims to “provide state and local election officials with a predictable flow of funding for critical capital investments and increased staff and services.”

One of the notable elements of the proposal is to “make (mail-in) ballots free,” which is a priority for left-leaning suffrage groups. Mail-in voting has become increasingly popular, especially after the pandemic-ridden 2020 election, but it’s up to states to decide whether voters should pay their own stamps. Most of the states that offer it are run by Democrats.

Biden also wants to increase the Justice Department’s civil rights budget by $101 million, for a new total of $367 million. These funds would support, among other things, efforts to protect voting rights. Over the past year, the Justice Department has sued GOP-led states like Texas and Georgia over voting rules and redistricting maps that allegedly discriminate against minorities.

The budget also includes funding for the president’s rebranded “Building a Better America” ​​proposal, which is stalled in Congress, but it “does not include specific line items for investments associated with this future legislation,” Young said.

When asked if the funding meant that stalled negotiations were moving forward again, Young replied that the White House was not getting “before congressional negotiations.”

“The deficit-neutral reserve fund is supposed to leave the space, revenue in particular, to allow congressional negotiators the ability to do what President Biden has asked for. He has called for legislation that cuts costs for Americans and reduce the deficit,” she said.

In order to make these investments and reduce the deficit, the budget introduces a new “minimum billionaire tax” – which includes more than just billionaires and applies to anyone worth more than $100 million – that would ensure that 0 .01% of the wealthiest households pay at least “20% of their total income in federal income taxes”. It also increases the rate corporations pay on profits and contains “additional measures to ensure that multinationals operating in the United States cannot use tax havens to reduce the global minimum tax,” the White House said.

Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse told reporters that Biden’s policies would reduce the projected deficit for the current fiscal year of 2022 to “$1.3 trillion less than it was in the past.” fiscal year 21, and we believe the policies in this budget will further reduce the deficit by another trillion dollars over the next decade.” But much of that deficit reduction comes from the expiration of temporary US bailout programs.

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