Biden’s 2024 US government budget is also a campaign pitch

By Thomson Reuters Mar 11, 2024 | 4:08 AM

By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden will sketch his fiscal vision for the United States on Monday, unveiling a spending wish list that is as much a election-year pitch to voters as a policy proposal.

Biden’s budget for the fiscal year starting in October comes days after the Democrat’s State of the Union address, where he sharply assailed the values of his likely Republican opponent in the November election, Donald Trump. Biden is traveling to the competitive election state of New Hampshire on Monday.

The president’s budget is expected to include a pledge to cut annual deficit spending by $3 trillion over 10 years, slowing but not halting the growth of the $34.5 trillion national debt.

Renewing a 2020 campaign promise, Biden wants to raise corporate minimum taxes, cut deductions for executive pay and corporate jets, and let the government negotiate lower drug prices. The extra cash could fund new tax credits for homebuyers, expanded healthcare subsidies and more border enforcement.

Biden’s 2025 defense budget request calls for fewer stealthy F-35 fighter jets and Virginia class submarines, first reported by Reuters, after a meager 1% increase allowed under those caps left fewer than expected funds.

White House budgets are always something of a presidential wish list, but that is even more so in the current political climate. U.S. agencies are operating without a full-year 2024 budget, after hardline Republicans rejected an agreed-upon spending level, and Republicans and Democrats are sharply divided over how to spend some $6 trillion in annual funding.

Democratic polling shows voters are concerned about debt-fueled government spending, high costs and the economy in general, and illegal border crossings, as well as broad support for taxing the wealthy.

The U.S. government spends more than it takes in each year, and the majority goes to so-called mandatory programs and military programs, which lawmakers are unlikely to cut.

House Republicans on Thursday issued a plan that aims to balance the federal budget within a decade by cutting $14 trillion in federal spending, including green energy subsides and student loan forgiveness, while reducing taxes. The White House called the plan unworkable.

Months after its October deadline, Congress has yet to pass full funding for federal agencies for the current year, and has stalled Biden’s request for additional emergency funds to support Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Biden’s budget proposal last year resulted in a standoff with hardline Republicans over the federal government’s now-$6.13 trillion in annual spending.

The standoff resulted in a two-year agreement to cap spending, the ouster of House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the credit rating agency Fitch stripping the country of its AAA rating.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by David Morgan and Mike Stone; Editing by Heather Timmons and Jonathan Oatis)