President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 “skinny budget” requests an 8.4 percent ($118 billion) increase in base discretionary appropriations from levels enacted in Fiscal Year 2021. If enacted this would bring the annual discretionary side of the federal government just north of the $1.5 trillion mark — $1.522 trillion.
Departments/Agencies receiving the largest boost in funds (by percentage) would be:
- 40.8% – Education
- 27.7% – Commerce
- 23.1% – Health and Human Services
- 21.3% – Environmental Protection Agency
- 19.8% – National Science Foundation
Those facing the largest cuts:
The budget “requests” a nearly 13 percent reduction to the Army Corps of Engineers. While shifting, as the budget proposes, the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) to the Department of Energy would reduce the Corps budget by 3 percent, the rest is a convenient fiction. Every presidential budget request includes “cuts” the Corps budget. Congress does not. It’s like clockwork. (More on that in a moment).
The amount of discretionary spending will likely rise. Not just because Congress may plus-up programs but because the budget assumes only minimal levels of “emergency” spending. This is typical of budgets. But it’s not typical of experience. The FY2021 ominbus spending bill had nearly $187 billion in non-base discretionary spending. But as the CARES Act in FY20 and recently enacted American Rescue Plan (and proposed American Jobs Plan) show that’s far from the final word.