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Biden's new budget calls for funding police and taxing billionaires

President Joe Biden delivers a speech about the Russian war in Ukraine at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland on March 26.
Brendan Smialowski
AFP via Getty Images
President Joe Biden delivers a speech about the Russian war in Ukraine at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland on March 26.

President Biden's budget proposal for the coming fiscal year includes a new minimum tax on billionaires and increased funding for police and gun violence prevention.

It also calls for additional defense spending and ongoing support for Ukraine's effort to repel Russia. And it includes elements of Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda, which is stalled in Congress.

In essence, the 157-page budget — not including its hundreds of pages of tables and graphics — is a bigger, numbers-heavy version of the vision Biden laid out in his State of the Union address earlier this month.

"Budgets are statements of values, and the budget I am releasing today sends a clear message that we value fiscal responsibility, safety and security at home and around the world, and the investments needed to continue our equitable growth and build a better America," Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

Presidential budgets are vision documents that almost never become reality, certainly not in whole. In recent years, even when the president's own party controlled Congress, the president's budget failed even to get a vote.

Biden's $5.8 trillion fiscal year 2023 budget includes items that were part of his "Build Back Better" agenda, including reducing energy costs and combating climate change, cutting prescription drug costs, funding free community college, continuing the enhanced child tax credit and high quality preschool. But it doesn't include precise information about how much any of that would cost.

"Because those discussions with Congress are ongoing, the budget does not include specific line items for the investments associated with that future legislation," said Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Instead, there is a "deficit neutral reserve fund to account for a future agreement," according to a White House document.

As Democrats face a challenging midterm election environment later this year, this budget document is the kind of thing the president and his party can point to as an expression of their vision for the country. Among the proposals you can expect to hear more about:

  • $32.2 billion to put "more police officers on the beat" through state and local grants and community violence intervention programs.
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars for programs to improve supply chains and move goods more quickly through the nation's ports.
  • A "billionaire minimum income tax," which would require households worth more than $100 million to pay a minimum tax rate of 20% on their full income, including unrealized appreciation.
  • An increase in the corporate tax rate on profits to ensure, the White House says, that large corporations "pay their fair share."
  • The White House emphasized that this budget, based on current economic projections and proposed spending, would cut the deficit to less than half what it was in the 2021 budget year, which included massive pandemic spending and economic contraction.

    The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget praised Biden's budget for proposing to reduce the deficit by a net $1 trillion over the next decade. But, it said ultimately, the White House plan would still set the debt on an "unsustainable path."

    "Substantially more deficit reduction will need to be put in place over time, and sooner rather than later," the group said in a release. "We hope that Congress and the President work together to produce such legislation, which could help to tackle near-term inflation and support sustainable long-term growth."

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    Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.