Biden's $6.9 trillion budget request 'higher than any time' during COVID pandemic emergency: report

The report by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget also states Biden's budget proposal omitting Social Security reform is a "glaring omission."

Updated: March 11, 2023 - 8:41am

President Biden's budget request of $6.9 trillion for fiscal 2024 is "higher than any time" during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, according to an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

"The president’s budget would borrow $19 trillion through 2033 and increase the debt-to-GDP ratio from 98% at the end of 2023 to 110% by 2033, past the record set in this nation just after WWII. It would spend $10.2 trillion on interest payments on the national debt alone – more than it will spend on defense or Medicaid over the same time period," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the pubic policy think tank. "Spending in this budget is excessive."

Under former President Trump, the Democratic-led House and GOP-led Senate authorized two pandemic stimulus packages, and under President Biden, the Democratic-led House passed his American Rescue Plan stimulus package. 

The CRFB found that under Biden's $6.9 trillion budget proposal, "spending next year would be higher than any time during the pandemic and about $2.5 trillion above the pre-pandemic level, representing growth of 55%" 

"Despite the nearly $600 billion of prescription drug, defense, and other savings, the budget would spend about 25 percent of the economy per year – unheard of outside of a national emergency," she said. "There is nothing wrong with having a spending wish list, but we should wait to implement major new spending or tax cuts until the nation’s fiscal situation is stabilized – a plan that still requires $19 trillion of borrowing is nowhere near under control."

The CRFB also said leaving out Social Security reform is a "glaring omission" in Biden's budget.

"The Social Security trust fund is projected to be insolvent within the next dozen years, and delaying action puts those who depend on the program the most at risk,” MacGuineas said.

“If we do nothing, Social Security will have an over 20% across-the-board benefit cut, truly harming those who depend on the program," she added.

MacGuineas also said the president deserves credit for proposing $3 trillion of deficit reduction over a 10-year period but it falls far short of what's needed to balance the federal budget.

"Since taking office, the president has approved over $5 trillion of new debt from legislation and executive actions," she said. "We desperately need to change course."

The CRFB estimates that it would take about $16 trillion of deficit reduction to balance the budget within the next 10 years.

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