Biden's Budget Prioritizes Social Safety Net, Paid for by Corporate Taxes

President Biden released a $6 trillion budget proposal for the coming year that includes new social safety net programs paid for by increasing taxes on corporations and the rich.

Although usually the president’s budget is largely ignored by Congress, it is an opportunity for the administration to articulate its priorities and make political statements. Once proposed, Congress then holds hearings on the budget and passes tax and spending legislation. Even with Democrats in control of both chambers, Biden’s budget still faces steep GOP opposition.

“Where we choose to invest speaks to what we value as a Nation,” the president wrote in a statement accompanying the budget. “This year’s Budget, the first of my Presidency, is a statement of values that define our Nation at its best.”

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Biden’s budget accounts for major spending priorities he has already introduced, including his $2.3 American Jobs Plan, which includes infrastructure funding, and $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which will invest in childcare and education. Although it has a $6 trillion total price tag, the budget only includes $300 billion in new spending for the next year, which is five percent above the Congressional Budget Office’s projected levels for 2021.

“The best way to grow our economy is not from the top down, but from the bottom up and the middle out,” Biden wrote. “Our prosperity comes from the people who get up every day, work hard, raise their family, pay their taxes, serve their Nation, and volunteer in their communities.”

Abortion advocates also cheered one part of the budget — Biden did not include the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding to providers like Planned Parenthood from going toward abortion procedures. In addition to excluding Hyde, Biden also lifted a restriction that had prevented the D.C. government from using local funds to help low-income women access abortion services. And Biden’s support is very welcome as the Supreme Court sets its sights on Roe v. Wade.

“Budgets are a statement of values. President Biden’s budget proposes to end the harmful Hyde Amendment — making clear that federal law should support everyone’s ability to access health care, including safe, legal, abortion, in this country,” Planned Parenthood Action tweeted after the budget was publicized.

But some are calling for the president to go farther. Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health & Gender Equity (CHANGE), said Biden should also remove the Helms Amendment, which limits federal funding from going toward abortion services in other countries. “Removing the Helms Amendment, for starters, is a crucial step in dismantling neo-colonialism and racism in our U.S. foreign policy,” Sippel said in a statement.

Biden’s budget also proposes changes in the tax code to fund his initiatives. He wants to return the corporate tax to 28 percent, the rate it was before Trump’s 2017 tax cut, and wants to fund the IRS to enforce the code and ensure the wealthiest Americans are paying what they should.

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