- The Washington Times - Friday, April 9, 2021

President Biden said Friday he’s aiming to convince Republicans to go along with at least parts of his massive spending and infrastructure priorities this year.

Mr. Biden touted the increased spending for health care, low-income schools, Violence Against Women Act provisions, and climate change in the $1.5 trillion discretionary budget outline for 2022 that the White House released on Friday.

“I look forward to working with Congress to advance these and other priorities,” the president said in the Oval Office at the start of a meeting with his economic team. “I think we’re going to be able to get - I’m hoping we’ll have some bipartisan support across the board.”

He said he’s already spoken with some Republicans about infrastructure and budget items.

“So we’re going to work on seeing if we can get some bipartisan support across the board here,” he said.

The president is supposed to host a bipartisan group of lawmakers next week to talk about his massive $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal, which is taking criticism from both the right and the left.

Republicans say they’re not going to be hoodwinked into supporting an infrastructure plan that’s financed with $2.5 trillion in tax hikes in a separate package, while liberal Democrats say they want more money to combat climate change.

Congress typically ignores presidential budget requests and the fiscal 2022 government spending bills will need some Republican support to thwart a possible filibuster in the Senate.

In his initial budget outline, Mr. Biden included $715 billion for the Pentagon — essentially flat from this year — while jacking up non-defense discretionary spending to $769 billion — a 16% increase.

Republicans said the president’s budget request skimps on Pentagon spending and liberals said it spends too much on defense.

“At a time when the U.S. already spends more on the military than the next 12 nations combined, it is time for us to take a serious look at the massive cost over-runs, the waste and fraud that currently exists at the Pentagon,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernard Sanders, Vermont Independent.

Democrats used a special budget tool to muscle through Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package without Republican support.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s office said this week that the Senate parliamentarian might allow Democrats to use the tool at least two more times this year — an indication that they’re preparing to move forward once again without Republican support.

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