Politics

Biden’s 2023 budget to target billionaires, boost military funds


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget proposal increases additional military spending as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rages on, and seeks tighter gun regulation and a new tax provision targeting billionaires.

The budget proposal includes $6.9 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative, NATO and countering Russian aggression to support Ukraine, among other partners.

“Here’s what this all adds up to— historic deficit reduction and historic investment in our security at home and abroad by modernizing our capabilities in both areas,” said Biden during remarks Monday.

Biden added, that he looked forward to working with members of Congress “to deliver this budget.”

“I’m calling for one of the largest investments in our national security in history, with the funds needed to ensure that our military remains the best-prepared, best-trained, best-equipped military in the world,” said Biden in a statement. “In addition, I’m calling for continued investment to forcefully respond to Putin’s aggression against Ukraine with U.S. support for Ukraine’s economic, humanitarian and security needs.”

The White House projects the budget proposal would reduce the federal deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next decade.

Congress takes the president’s recommendations and crafts their own budget, often ignoring proposals that come from the White House.

Republicans have long been critical of Democrats’ ballooning budget deficits, especially in 2020 when the federal budget deficit was projected to hit a record $3.3 trillion, as a result of the coronavirus aid packages used to prop up the economy.

This latest budget proposal from the president seems to counter the Republicans’ line of attack heading into the 2022 midterm elections.

Criticism from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday was focused more on proposed funding for the Pentagon, with the Kentucky Republican saying the budget “falls woefully short on defense spending.”

McConnell said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping “will sleep more soundly at night if the Biden administration gets [its] way on defense funding than if Republicans get ours.”

The proposed Pentagon budget also drew sharp words from progressive lawmakers, but for a much different reason.

“It is simply unacceptable that after the conclusion of our longest war and during a period of Democratic control of both chambers of Congress, the President is proposing record high military spending,” the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, including Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said in a joint statement.

White House officials told reporters on a call Monday ahead of the release that there have been major changes in the economy since the budget forecast was “locked” in November.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine “will have ramifications that are not reflected in our forecast,” said the chair of the Council of Economic Adviser, Cecilia Rouse, during the call.

“For example, 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,” Rouse continued.

She added that independent forecasters therefore expect somewhat slower GDP growth, but still anticipate that inflation will come down.

The budget also proposes $1.7 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to expand multijurisdictional gun trafficking strike forces with additional personnel and increased regulation of the firearms industry.

In addition, the budget invests $367 million, an increase of $101 million over the 2021 enacted level, at the Justice Department to support police reform, the prosecution of hate crimes, enforcement of voting rights and efforts to provide equitable access to justice.

A part of the proposal is a new minimum tax targeting the wealthiest American households.

The Billionaire Minimum Income Tax plan would impose a 20 percent minimum tax rate on U.S. households worth more than $100 million. Over half the revenue would come from those worth at least $1 billion.

The White House estimates that if it is enacted, the tax would reduce the deficit by about $360 billion over the next decade.

Zoë Richards contributed.



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