WASHINGTON — President Biden is pushing his 2023 budget proposal on Capitol Hill and lawmakers are deep-diving into the number to figure out what they agree with and don’t agree with.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), a fiscal conservative at heart, is hard-pressed to find anything he likes in the budget proposal. The price tag on Biden’s proposal calls for $5.7 trillion in spending, some of which will be new spending all aimed at lowering the country’s deficit.
“Currently this budget is calling for, I think, a 14-percent increase on domestic spending, only 4-percent on defense,” Braun said while questioning Shalanda Young, President Biden’s director of the Office of Management and Budget. “It seems out of proportion to me.”
“I remind everyone that the non-defense side includes our commitment to our veterans, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security,” Young replied. “There are critical security elements on the non-defense side.”
Biden has said his budget also calls for spending to tackle problems with violent crime in many problem areas of the country.
Braun is concerned that the proposal will set the United States on a trajectory toward having the government account for too much of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to the point it could match European levels.
“On our revenue side, if you go back 50-years, we averaged 17-to-18-percent of our GDP,” said Braun. “This budget, I think, is at 25-percent of our GDP. I mean, that’s a quantum leap.”
“We believe we should invest in the American people,” Young replied. “As a percent of GDP, non-defense remains below the historic GDP level.”
Their conversation before the Senate Budget Committee also briefly mentioned the budget’s impact on inflation, which Biden said would get better under his proposal. Inflation sits at just below 8-percent at the moment. Braun fears that pumping even more money into the economy with Biden’s proposal will have the opposite effect of the president’s desires.
“Early into the ’80s (interest rates) got right up to 20-percent. That was due to the evil that’s been unleashed, inflation, currently,” Braun said. “It took interest rates into that level to get inflation back to where you take the tax that robs everyone back in order.”
With the uncertainty of how mid-term elections will go, the president has a slim window to get his budget through Congress while Democrats have the slim upper hand on Capitol Hill as the midterms begin to kick into gear.