Congress, White House Set For Another Fierce Battle Over The Budget

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday will release his official budget for the coming fiscal year, launching a routine tussle between the White House and Congress over how much money the federal government should spend, and where it should be focused.

The complex and politically charged budgeting process forces policymakers to grapple with important questions about how far Americans want their government to go, and how much they want to fund it.

The widespread budget wrangling is usually split along partisan lines, with Republicans advocating relatively smaller governments that budget less, and therefore collect less tax revenue from their citizens.

Democrats tend to side with a more expansive federal government, funded by higher tax rates, especially from the wealthy and corporations.

In addition, there is also an element of drama in the process. Members of opposing parties, especially when they control one or both houses of Congress, when the president’s budget application is released will immediately call it “rejected as submitted”. The opposing party will also assert its authority in Congress to control the government’s purse strings. Republicans, who currently control the House of Representatives, will play that role this year.

The different visions “at times like this, what Congress is doing, and what the government is proposing are very different, because they have very different views of how America should be,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who chaired the Congressional Budget Office from 2003 to 2005.

“The president is going to propose a major budget increase,” Holtz-Eakin, who is now president of the American Action Forum, a conservative-leaning think tank, told VOA.

“The president is going to propose child care services, paid time off, free college, bigger tax breaks for those with children — all kinds of new entitlements programs (Democrats) think are appropriate. They will propose more taxes.” He compared the budget proposal estimates the president expects to be very different from the possible approach taken by the Republicans who now control Congress. [my/rs]

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