President Biden sets out a $6 trillion spending plan

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US President Joe Biden has released his first annual budget – a $ 6 trillion spending plan that includes steep tax increases for wealthier Americans.

The bumper proposal would include huge new social programmes and investment in the fight against climate change.

But it needs approval from Congress, where Republican Senator Lindsey Graham condemned it as “insanely expensive”.

Under the plan, debt would reach 117% of GDP by 2031, surpassing levels during World War Two.

That would be in spite of at least $3tn in proposed tax increases on corporations, capital gains and the top income tax bracket.

Former President Donald Trump, a Republican, also ran up the deficit each year he was in office, and his final annual spending proposal had a price tag of $4.8tn.

The Biden budget includes a $1.5tn request for operating expenditures for the Pentagon and other government departments. It also incorporates two plans he has previously publicised: his $2.3tn jobs plan and a $1.8tn families plan.

Biden, a Democrat, said his budget “invests directly in the American people and will strengthen our nation’s economy and improve our long-run fiscal health”.

The White House says the proposal will help grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out.

This budget promises:

  • More than $800bn for the fight against climate change, including investments in clean energy
  • $200bn to provide free pre-school places for all three and four-year-olds
  • $109bn for two years of free community college for all Americans
  • $225bn for a national paid family and medical leave programme – bringing the US in line with comparable wealthy nations
  • $115bn for roads and bridges and $160bn for public transit and railways
  • $100bn to improve access to broadband internet for every American household

The budget also has a noticeable absence: the Hyde Amendment, a federal provision that says taxpayer money cannot fund abortions in US states except in cases of rape and incest.

Biden is the first president in decades to exclude the abortion coverage ban, a move that has already been applauded by progressives. He supported the amendment for years before changing course during last year’s presidential campaign.

But the president’s plan faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where several centrist members of his own party could side with Republicans in supporting the Hyde Amendment.