On March 15, 2023, the Senate Committee on the Budget held a hearing on the President’s FY24 budget proposal. Shalanda Young, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was the sole witness. In the current environment with a looming debt ceiling, there was a clear divide in priorities between Chairman Whitehouse [D-RI] and Ranking Member Grassley [R-IA].
Throughout the hearing, Democrats on the committee praised Biden’s budget for its investments in Medicare, childcare, and working-class families, while Republicans criticized spending increases and called for a balanced budget. Chairman Whitehouse called the proposal a “budget for families” for its investments in childcare, the child tax credit, and reforming the tax code. Senator Murray [D-WA] applauds Young and the Administration for strengthening non-defense spending. She indicated that current House Republicans’ proposal would substantially cut child care block grants and even funding for the Department of State and border operations, which are classified as non-defense programs. On the other hand, Ranking Member Grassley argued that this proposal places more debt on “our Nation’s already maxed out credit card.” In a heated questioning, Senator Romney [R-UT] argued that Young was wrong for claiming that Republicans want to cut Social Security and asked why the administration is not doing more to protect one of the nation’s most popular programs. Amidst the tension in the room, bipartisan areas of interest emerged, including increasing funding for mental health and addiction services.
Young called Biden’s FY24 budget, a “blueprint to finish the job” of the administration’s progress. It has four key priorities: investing in America, lowering costs for families, bolstering Medicare and social security, and reducing the deficit by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade. These goals would be achieved by increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations while ensuring those with incomes below $400,000 per year are not taxed more. She responded to criticisms by arguing that the investments we make today in the middle class will allow more people to access childcare and the necessary wrap-around services to enter the workforce, thus spurring economic growth. Although Congress has the ultimate say on the FY 2024 budget, Biden’s proposal reflects the Administration’s values and priorities.
By Ava Cloghessy, Policy Intern