WASHINGTON -- President Biden released his budget request for fiscal year 2022 discretionary appropriations Friday. This so-called “skinny budget” is anything but: Biden’s proposal would drive up wasteful spending while short-changing real priorities like national security, and increase the likelihood of the appropriations bills not being passed through regular order. Matthew Dickerson, director of Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, released the following statement on the proposal:
“President Biden’s budget request represents a massive increase in spending from current levels, prioritizing funding for agency programs over defense spending. The budget is unreasonable, irresponsible, and Congress should instead chart its own course for the FY 2022 appropriations process.
“For fiscal year 2022, there are no limits on discretionary spending established in law. While President Biden is attempting to implement most of his partisan agenda through the budget reconciliation process, which can be enacted with only 51 votes in the Senate, discretionary spending does not qualify for reconciliation. Lawmakers from both parties will be required to work together to complete the appropriations process.
“Perhaps more important, President Biden’s budget request gets a failing grade when it comes to what the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars are spent on. Agencies known for promulgating job-killing regulations and wasting taxpayer dollars, like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Education would see substantial increases in spending authority.
“Congress must exercise spending restraint instead of continuing down the path of seemingly endless federal spending on priorities that will not benefit taxpayers. President Biden’s budget request should be disregarded, and the Congress should chart a responsible path forward to complete the appropriations process.”
Frederico Bartels, a senior policy analyst for defense budgeting at The Heritage Foundation's Davis Institute, issued a statement expanding on the discrepancy in defense funding:
“Merely maintaining the current force structure and modernization plans on the books requires at least 3% growth in spending, but President Biden’s request is a timid increase of 1.4%. This budget request is asking the Pentagon to find close to $5 billion in reductions of real military capabilities—such as fighter jets, training and weapons development—to pay for inflationary increases largely in health care and personnel salaries.
“This below-inflation increase of the budget, while expanding the demands on our military, is a recipe for failure. Congress must correct course to avoid a penny-wise, pound-foolish decision that we will pay dearly for in the future.
“Many of our political leaders don’t recognize the very real threat our adversaries pose, and consequently, don’t believe our military should be funded to the degree necessary to defeat any one of them while protecting our other global interests. While China and Russia invest in their defense at an alarming pace, President Biden’s budget blueprint will force the Pentagon into the same painful trade-offs that led to the readiness crisis induced by the Obama administration in 2017.”