Joe Biden reveals first budget - a $6trn spending plan with $800bn for fighting climate change

·2-min read

President Biden has announced his first annual budget - a $6trn (£4.2trn) package that includes investment in fighting climate change and steep tax hikes for the wealthy.

The US federal government's spending plan for the fiscal year ending September 2022 would increase spending on infrastructure, education and provisions for the poor and middle class.

However, it needs approval from Congress and has been condemned by Republicans.

Senator Lindsey Graham said the Democrat president's budget was "insanely expensive", while Ron Johnson called it "immoral".

Mr Biden's budget is roughly 50% higher than pre-pandemic government spending and estimates growth this year at 5.2%.

It would eclipse record levels of debt relative to GDP that have stood since the Second World War.

The proposal includes at least a $3trn (£2.1trn) tax increase on corporations, capital gains and the top income tax bracket - and promises over $800bn (£563.4bn) for the fight against climate change, including investments in clean energy.

It would also provide $200bn (£140.8bn) for free pre-school places for all three and four-year-olds, and $109bn (£76.7bn) for two years of free community college for all Americans.

The Biden budget includes a $1.5trn (£1.1trn) request for operating expenditures for the Pentagon and other government departments.

It also includes two plans Mr Biden previously publicised - a $2.3trn (£1.6trn) jobs plan and a $1.8trn (£1.3trn) families plan.

The proposals have been praised by women's and civil rights groups for omitting a ban on funding for most abortions.

It makes no mention of the Hyde Amendment, first passed in 1976 and included in federal spending bills since.

Subscribe to Divided States on Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

The amendment restricts coverage for recipients of Medicare, Medicaid, federal employees, servicewomen and Washington DC residents, but could still be added to the bill as it moves through Congress.

Women's and civil rights groups say the amendment disproportionately impacts low-income women.

"Exciting to see the admin's historic step. For too long, the Hyde amendment has put the gov't in control of personal health care decisions for people with low incomes," women's health provider Planned Parenthood tweeted.

However, Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said it "breaks decades of settled precedent by calling for direct taxpayer-funded abortion".

The budget follows Mr Biden's $1.9trn (£1.4trn) COVID-19 relief plan, passed by the Senate in March.

That bill includes $400bn (£289bn) in one-time payments of $1,400 (£1,000) to most Americans, $300 (£217) a week in extended jobless benefits for the 9.5 million people made unemployed, and $350bn (£253bn) in aid to state and local governments that have taken a huge hit in their budgets.