Biden’s Budget Seeks Racial, Economic Equality Despite GOP Counter-Proposal
President Joe Biden wants the country to invest $6 trillion by prioritizing working families and children. One of the largest proposed investments in the American public since the New Deal, Biden’s new budget places a premium on equity in several areas and reducing racial and economic disparities.
Including previously introduced proposals such as investments in infrastructure, jobs, childcare and early childhood education, the new Biden budget seeks to reposition Americans. Biden’s budget incorporates both the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan.
The White House outlined several areas of the proposed federal budget that would advance racial justice, including investing in climate justice, upgrading and building new child care facilities and eliminating all lead pipes and service lines. Black children and families across the country bear the burden of lead exposure.
Biden’s proposed budget also plans to close the gap in broadband coverage by investing in “future proof” infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas. He also expressed a desire to create an equitable transportation system to support increased funding for public transit and transit-oriented development.
Abortion advocates rejoiced as the proposed budget lifts a provision that prevented public funding of abortions. Known as the Hyde Amendment, the provision prevents Medicaid funds from being used for abortions except in the case of rape or incest.
A recent report by The Guardian mentioned 51% of the women impacted by the Hyde Amendment funding ban are women of color.
Under the guise of criminal justice, the budget increases funding for so-called community policing to address police reform. Contrary to popular belief, community policing is not a single set of practices and provisions to be universally adopted. There is also limited evidence to suggest the approach reduces crime or violent interactions with law enforcement.
Presidential budgets are aspirational documents. The budgets are nonbinding proposals but signal a president’s priorities for Congressional allies.
Biden’s budget also comes in the middle of negotiations with Senate Republicans over an infrastructure package. While Biden continues to prioritize bipartisan compromise, Senate Republicans keep lowballing the American people.
Responding to a recent Republican infrastructure proposal, Black to the Future Action Fund Principal Alicia Garza called the proposal out of touch.
“From infrastructure to public safety to democracy, Republicans are failing to help move this country forward,” said Garza in a statement. “Black communities have delivered a mandate for change, and this mandate must take precedence over the culture wars Republicans continue to wage.”
Garza called the investment in the American Jobs Plan the “bare minimum” for rebuilding. “Rather than bending over backwards for a dubious compromise with a party that is actively disenfranchising Black voters and not putting real solutions forward, Democrats should pass the infrastructure bill in its current form through reconciliation and then focus on the many more bold changes needed to strengthen our democracy,” Garza explained.
A survey from ProsperUS and Data for Progress showed that most voters supported increased economic relief and community investments. A group of progressive labor, faith-based movement, small business, and policy organizations, ProsperUS echoed Garza’s sentiments.
“This latest proposal is woefully inadequate and will leave millions of workers, families, and businesses out to dry,” said Claire Gudzar, spokesperson for ProsperUS. “We’ve heard stories from unemployed workers, caregivers, and people struggling to pay rent that show us how much need there is for additional action. Poll after poll shows that voters support more economic relief right now, not less.”
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