Little of the Biden administration’s budget proposal is likely to make it through a divided Congress – Washington Examiner

President Joe Biden and the White House released a $7.3 trillion budget blueprint several days after his State of the Union address, in which he outlined several of his priorities.

The blueprint is not an actual budget, as any spending originates from the legislative branch. Still, it provides Congress with the administration’s priorities for the year, giving the House and Senate some direction on where the White House wants to go with taxes and spending.

The latest proposal is different in that it not only lays out spending priorities but will serve as a benchmark for the president’s reelection campaign against former President Donald Trump, his vanquished 2020 rival. The Republican Party maintains a narrow House majority, and Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) was not subtle when he released a statement about the administration’s proposals.

“The price tag of President Biden’s proposed budget is yet another glaring reminder of this Administration’s insatiable appetite for reckless spending and the Democrats’ disregard for fiscal responsibility,” Johnson said.

The White House will see this as not only an opportunity to draw a sharp contrast with Trump but also serve as a road map for Democrats for the House and Senate. The latter of which is particularly challenging for Democrats in the 2024 cycle. Democrats hold a 51-49 edge, which Republicans have several electoral routes to overturn.

Democrats are already virtually guaranteed to lose the seat held by retiring Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), in a state that was Trump’s second-best in 2020 in which he beat Biden 69% to 30%, winning all 55 counties along the way. Trump has endorsed Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) for Senate. Justice, at various points West Virginia’s richest man due to business holdings, is favored in the May 14 Senate primary against Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) and is highly likely to win in November.

Democrats also face headwinds in Montana and Ohio Senate races. Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), both elected in the Democratic wave of 2006, are fighting tough reelection battles in states Trump easily won twice. The CookPoliticalReport rates both as toss-ups. On the House side, the report has 11 Democratic and 11 Republican seats listed as toss-ups, meaning either side could end up with the majority in a chamber in which, when all vacancies are filled through special elections, Republicans will have a slim 221-214 edge.

Biden’s budget is ambitious, and it remains to be seen whether House and Senate Democrats in tough races embrace or reject it. The proposals for healthcare include several ideas related to spending and taxes.

For Medicare, Biden proposes raising the current 3.8% Medicare tax rate to 5% for those making over $400,000 a year in wages or other income sources, closing loopholes, and transferring net investment income tax revenue to the trust fund. The latest Medicare Board of Trustees’ annual report to Congress noted Medicare will hit insolvency by 2031. While the system will not go “bankrupt,” as some claim, it will not have enough money to pay benefits in full.

The Biden blueprint also calls for:

● “Medicaid-like coverage” for people living in the 10 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid coverage under Obamacare. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said the proposal would provide healthcare coverage for 1.5 million people.

●  Expanded drug price “negotiations.” Under the Inflation Reduction Act, the law allows the administration to set a maximum price it will pay drug companies for certain Medicare-covered prescription drugs. Any company that doesn’t agree is subject to daily excise taxes. The current number of drugs per year under the law is 20. Biden wants to expand that number to 50 a year. The administration also wants to expand the $35 cap on insulin and the $2,000 out-of-pocket prescription drug cost cap to the commercial market.

●  The pre-exposure prophylaxis drug for preventing HIV infection is to be made available at no cost to anyone on Medicaid and to those without health insurance. The administration estimates it will cost nearly $10 billion over the next decade.

●  An increase in funding to aid states in enforcing mental health parity requirements. The proposal would also mandate that healthcare providers cover three behavioral health visits per year and three primary visits at no cost to the individual.

Biden’s proposal also received a chilly reception from the House Budget Committee. A press release issued by the committee said, “He ignores the fact that mandatory federal health care programs are the primary drivers of the nation’s out-of-control $34 trillion debt.” The committee added, “The Biden budget exacerbates existing problems within our country’s health care system by proposing a one-size-fits-all, ‘Washington knows best’ approach that will drive prices up and the quality of care down.”


Much of this will play out on the campaign trail. With inflation, high interest rates, high personal debt, and rising gas and oil prices still having a negative effect on Biden’s job approval rating, it remains to be seen whether Democrats in swing states and districts embrace his tax and spending proposals.

For Republicans, the wild card is Trump, who doesn’t have much discipline on policy except for immigration and trade. Trump attacked Republican rivals for plans to shore up Medicare and Social Security, accusing them of wanting to “cut” the programs. With a heightened appeal to working-class voters, Republican candidates might find it difficult to attack Biden’s proposals that the newer voting base would likely support.