Committee Reacts to Biden Administration’s Discretionary Budget

For Immediate Release

The Biden administration today released a budget proposal for discretionary spending levels for fiscal year 2022, which proposes $1.5 trillion in total discretionary spending – an increase of more than 8 percent, or $118 billion from base FY 2021 base discretionary funding. This includes a 16 percent boost in base non-defense discretionary spending from $664 billion this year to $769 billion next year. A full budget proposal with the remaining nine years of the budget window – and the other two-thirds of the budget not covered by appropriations – is expected in the coming weeks.

Below is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

Defeating COVID and supporting the economic recovery have been – rightly so – the top priority for the past year. But with the debt and deficit both projected to reach all-time highs this year, it’s time to start planning how to improve our long-term fiscal outlook.

The President’s proposed 16 percent increase in non-defense discretionary spending comes on top of a more than 20 percent increase since 2017, and would be quite costly if it isn’t offset elsewhere in the budget. Assuming these increases are sustained in future years, they would cost hundreds of billions of dollars over a decade.

President Biden is entitled to pursue his policy agenda, but the expiration of discretionary spending caps shouldn’t mean the end of budget discipline. The President’s proposal, if anything, is a good reminder on the need to extend the discretionary spending caps that expire at the end of this year. Now is not the time to go on a spending spree, particularly without identifying offsetting tax increases or spending reductions.

Importantly, discretionary spending encompasses only a third of the budget. We can’t truly evaluate the President’s agenda until we know how he’ll address the other two-thirds of the budget and what he will do on the other side of the ledger with taxes.

We hope the full budget plan will include policies to not only offset new spending, but secure the trust funds and improve the country's long-term fiscal path.


For more information, please contact John Buhl, director of media relations, at