- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 27, 2021

President Biden plans to outline a $6 trillion budget request for 2022 on Friday as he pushes his $4 trillion-plus economic agenda, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

Mr. Biden plans to call for the federal government to spend $6 trillion in the budget year that starts Oct. 1, with total spending to rise to $8.2 trillion by 2031.

The New York Times first reported the general contours of the plan.

Mr. Biden wouldn’t confirm the $6 trillion figure to reporters while traveling Thursday to Ohio.

But the White House said the administration already inherited a sea of red ink from last year’s coronavirus-related spending.

“The president inherited $3 trillion of spending that had already been done to help get the pandemic under control,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One. “What the budget will reflect is that he is going to continue to deliver on his priorities.”

The White House in April had laid out roughly $1.5 trillion for the president’s fiscal 2022 discretionary budget request, which doesn’t include mandatory programs like Medicare that are largely on autopilot.

The president’s reported budget would send government debt as a share of the economy to near-unprecedented levels.

While the levels of spending are staggering, they would be continuing a longer-term trend that has seen the federal debt and deficits explode over the last two decades.

In February 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, the Trump administration projected that the federal government would spend more than $5 trillion in fiscal 2022.

Since then, Congress has authorized roughly $6 trillion in new spending to respond to the pandemic and the associated economic fallout.

The presidential budget blueprint is a nonbinding request. Congress ultimately will set federal spending levels through the annual appropriations process, though Mr. Biden reserves the right to veto those bills if they’re not to his liking.

The White House has argued that historically low interest rates and an economy still well short of its pre-pandemic levels are reasons to spend additional money now, which the administration says will pay dividends in the short and long term.

Mr. Biden is in the midst of a public relations campaign to pitch his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package and $1.8 trillion “families” plan that spends additional money on social programs like universal pre-kindergarten and child care.

The administration estimated that Mr. Biden‘s economic agenda will help grow the economy and start cutting into the debt after 15 years when paired with trillions of dollars’ worth of tax hikes on corporations, individuals and investors.

Republicans are unified against the president’s proposed tax increases and say that flooding the economy with so much taxpayer money will exacerbate inflation, effectively imposing additional taxes on people of all income levels through higher prices for consumer goods.

White House senior adviser Mike Donilon said in a memo released Thursday that Republicans who are opposed to the president’s economic agenda are effectively undermining their own constituents and attacking American values.

“When Republicans criticize the president’s plan to rebuild our economy through long-overdue investments in our country’s infrastructure, they’re criticizing what their own constituents have been urging for decades,” Mr. Donilon said. “When they attack the president’s plan to make the wealthy finally pay their share of taxes, they’re attacking the American people’s basic sense of fairness.”

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