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White House budget director says Biden plan would ‘give working families a shot’ 

Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young testifies about the fiscal 2025 budget request before the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. (Screenshot from committee webcast)

White House budget director Shalanda Young pressed senators Tuesday to pass legislation implementing core elements of President Biden’s latest budget request, saying it would boost the economy and programs that help working Americans.

Young told the Senate Budget Committee, during a two-hour hearing, that tax, spending and economic policies in the proposal would continue the country’s recovery from the pandemic, though she admitted the long odds of a divided Congress approving all the recommendations.

“President’s budgets are to show a vision,” Young said. “Most budgets are not picked up lock, stock and passed. But the idea is that presidents should put forward how they believe the country should move forward.”

“This president believes we have to keep investing in the American people, grow the economy for the middle class, give working families a shot in this country and we can do that through a fairer tax code,” Young added.

The $7.266 trillion budget proposal for fiscal 2025, slated to begin Oct. 1, was released Monday, kicking off the annual budget and appropriations process that likely won’t wrap up until after the elections.

Congress is still trying to complete work on the dozen government funding bills that members were supposed to approve more than five months ago, following Biden’s last budget request.

The House and Senate voted last week to approve six of the spending measures, but have yet to release the final six ahead of their current March 22 deadline.

Child tax credit, taxes on higher earners

Biden’s budget request calls on lawmakers to expand the child tax credit to what was in place during the COVID-19 pandemic and require wealthy Americans to “pay their fair share” in taxes.

Young, former staff director of the House Appropriations Committee, said the total spending levels for defense and domestic discretionary programs adhere to the agreement Biden struck with former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, last year.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham argued that spending levels for the Department of Defense and other national security initiatives are not sufficient given the threats to the United States from around the world.

Those total spending levels were approved by the House and Senate with broad bipartisan support.

“I just want the American people to understand from my point of view, for whatever it’s worth, I’ve never seen this many threats at once,” Graham said.

U.S. House GOP leaders, he said, should take up and pass the $95 billion emergency supplemental spending bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan that senators approved in February.

“The supplemental has money not only for Israel, Taiwan and Ukraine. It has money for all our own defense needs,” Graham said, adding he was “insistent” on getting the aid enacted. “Hopefully we can find a way to get it out of the House. I’ll keep trying.”

Grassley critical of no plan on Social Security

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member on the Budget Committee, criticized Biden’s budget request as insufficient and the president for not putting forward more ideas that GOP lawmakers could support.

Grassley said the budget request’s lack of a concrete plan to avoid a drop-off in Social Security benefits in less than a decade represented “a sad political climate,” calling on Biden as well as likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to show leadership on the issue.

“What do they think’s going to happen in 2033, just eight years down the road?” Grassley said. “When we all know that if we don’t do something about Social Security, everybody’s benefits are going to go down to 77% of what they’re getting now.”

“If there was ever a time for a president to show leadership with his budget, this is it,” Grassley added. “Instead, he offers proposals so far out of the mainstream most have already even been rejected by congressional Democrats.”

Whitehouse sees ‘statement of values’

Senate Budget Committee Chair Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, said Biden’s budget request offers an opportunity for the president to differentiate himself from Trump.

“As the president is fond of saying, a budget is a statement of values,” Whitehouse said. “That message is especially salient this year as President Biden and MAGA Republicans offer starkly different visions of our country’s future.”

Biden’s budget request “puts the middle class first … and paves the way for a stronger, safer and more prosperous America,” Whitehouse said.

House Republicans’ budget resolution for the upcoming fiscal year, which they debated and approved in committee last week, would “undo pro-growth investments that are creating jobs, driving a clean energy boom and lowering costs for households across the country — all while calling to make the Trump tax cuts for the very wealthy permanent,” he said.

Lowering costs for working families

Young testified before the committee that Biden’s budget request “protects and builds on the progress made over the last three years, and proposes additional policies to lower costs for working families, including for health insurance, prescription drugs, child care, utilities, housing, college, energy and more.”

“These investments will help working families keep more of their hard-earned paychecks and strengthen our economy,” Young said. “It also invests in American working families.”

The budget request, she said, “extends Medicare solvency indefinitely by requiring the wealthy people to pay their fair share toward Medicare and reducing prescription drug costs.”

The budget doesn’t propose raising taxes on anyone making more than $400,000 annually, Young said.


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White House budget director says Biden plan would ‘give working families a shot’