Biden's budget proposal includes billions to counter Russian aggression, new tax on wealthiest Americans

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

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, the proposed budget includes $6.9 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and “countering Russian aggression to support Ukraine.” Young said the proposal makes “one of the largest investments in national security in US history, strengthening our military and leveraging our renewed strength at home to meet pressing global challenges.”

The proposal calls for $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, crime prevention and community violence intervention.”

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

“Here at home it includes critical investments to keep our communities safe, funds crime prevention and community violence intervention, put more cops on the beat for community policing, fight gun violence and advance criminal justice reform,” she said.

Officials say the estimates on inflation reflected in the budget were set in November — before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has strained the economy and increased prices across the board.

“The invasion will likely put upward pressure on energy and food prices that in turn could reinforce inflation that was already an issue prior to the invasion due to the pandemic supply chain constraints and as far demand for goods,” Rouse said. “The economics forecast, we if we were updating today, we would look at it somewhat differently.”

Biden will speak about his budget proposal later on Monday.

In a statement, Biden said the budget “includes historic deficit reduction, historic investments in our security at home and abroad, and an unprecedented commitment to building an economy where everyone has a chance to succeed.” He also touted the deficit reduction as a “the direct result of my Administration’s strategy to get the pandemic under control and grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out.”

“At the same time, my budget will make investments in securing our nation and building a better America,” Biden wrote. He also said he was “calling for one of the largest investments in our national security in history,” and for “continued investment to forcefully respond to Putin’s aggression against Ukraine with US support for Ukraine’s economic, humanitarian, and security needs.”

Among the other requests is $10 billion in new funding for election administration, which they say is necessary to “strengthening American democracy” while 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 comprehend the Nation’s critical election infrastructure has been episodic or crisis-driven,” the White House budget proposal said. But the $10 billion request aims to “provide state and local election officials with a predictable funding stream for critical capital investments and increased staffing and services.”

One notable plank of the proposal includes “making (mail-in) ballots postage-free,” which is a priority for left-leaning voting rights groups. Voting by mail has become increasingly popular, especially after the pandemic-plagued 2020 election, but it’s up to states to decide whether voters must pay for 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. In the past year, the Justice Department sued GOP-run 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 re-branded “Building a Better America” ​​proposal, which is stalled in Congress, but it “does not include specific line items for the investments associated with that future legislation,” Young said.

Asked if the funding meant that stalled negotiations were once again moving, Young said what the White House was not getting “ahead of congressional negotiations.”

“The deficit neutral reserve fund is meant to leave the space, the revenue specifically, to leave congressional negotiators the room to do what President Biden has asked. He has asked for legislation that reduces costs for Americans and reduces the deficit,” she said.

In order to make those investments and reduce the deficit, the budget calls for a new “minimum tax on billionaires” — which includes more than just billionaires, and applies to anyone worth more than $100 million — that would ensure the wealthiest 0.01 percent of households pay at least “20 percent of their total income in federal income taxes.” It also increases the rate corporations pay on profits and contains “contains additional measures to ensure that multinationals operating in the United States cannot use tax havens to undercut the global minimum tax,” the White House said.

Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Cecilia Rouse told reporters that Biden policies would decrease the expected deficit in the current fiscal year of 2022 to “$1.3 trillion smaller than it was in fiscal year ’21, and we believe the policies in this budget will further reduce the deficit by another trillion over the next decade.” But much of that deficit reduction comes from temporary programs in the American Rescue Plan expiring.

CNN’s Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.

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