Statement of Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On President Biden’s Budget Blueprint

A budget is where an administration can set its priorities, and it is clear from President Biden’s initial proposal that his administration’s priorities reflect the real needs of the American people.

This blueprint makes strong investments in Americans and communities who have not benefited from the economic expansion prior to the pandemic and who fell further behind because of COVID.  The budget proposes long overdue and historic investments in jobs, worker training, schools, food security, infrastructure and housing.  It takes seriously the threat of climate change, the continuing scourge of the opioid epidemic, and the persistent crisis of mass gun violence in our country.  And it continues to address the COVID pandemic by making an historic investment in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the world’s preeminent public health agency – to support our public health system and prepare for the next emerging global threat.

Make no mistake, the investments proposed by the Biden administration are necessary and urgent.  The Budget Control Act of 2011, which set decreasing caps on discretionary spending, has had devastating consequences despite bipartisan efforts to lift the budget caps.  It is no accident our country was unprepared for the COVID pandemic and that our national stockpile of equipment like PPE and ventilators was woefully inadequate, nor is it surprising that our Nation’s infrastructure is crumbling.  It was the consequence of insufficient public investments, and this is a story that rings true across the entire country. 

I look forward to receiving the administration’s full budget in the coming weeks so that Congress can pass a budget resolution and the Senate Appropriations Committee can begin its work of marking up bills.  It has been a trying year for all of us.  Congress must come together on a bipartisan basis and do the work of the American people by marking up all 12 appropriations bills.  When I discussed this budget last night with the White House, I told them I look forward to working with the Administration, and with my dear friend, Vice Chairman Shelby, on completing the fiscal year 2022 appropriations process.  

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