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Overall Biden is requesting $1.52 trillion in discretionary spending, an 8.4% increase over the current year. It would return non-defense discretionary spending to 3.3% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, the historic average over the past 30 years.
The discretionary request – known as the “skinny budget” and prepared by the administration’s Office of Management and Budget – outlines Biden’s recommendations for the annual appropriations process in Congress and sheds light on his upcoming agenda. A full more detailed budget is expected later this spring.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president inherited “a legacy of chronic underinvestment” in key areas and is “reinvesting in the foundations of our strength.” She called the budget proposal an “indication of our priorities.”
Republican Senate leaders, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, slammed Biden’s defense budget, arguing it sends “a terrible signal not only to our adversaries in Beijing and Moscow, but also to our allies and partners.”
Much of Biden’s new spending proposed for the 2022 fiscal year would infuse federal dollars into education, research, environmental and other domestic programs that Trump unsuccessfully worked to cut.
Biden has proposed $6.5 billion to launch the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health within the National Institutes of Health to ramp up research on cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.
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Biden is also looking to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement, with a $209 million discretionary request for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Community Relations Service and other programs.
It would mark a $33 million increase over the current year for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division with funds going toward police reform, the prosecution of hate crimes, enforcement of voting rights, and “mediation and conciliation services for community conflicts arising from discriminatory practices,” the White House said.
Biden is proposing doubling spending for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women Act programs to $1 billion. This would include funds for new programs to expand restorative justice efforts, protect transgender survivors and support women at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The White House called the discretionary spending request a “complementary” proposal to Biden’s $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan, proposed last week, which includes historic spending on infrastructure, caregiving, manufacturing, research and other areas.
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Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.