The Biden Budget Poses an Existential Threat to the States | Citizens Against Government Waste

The Biden Budget Poses an Existential Threat to the States

The WasteWatcher

In what has become a recurring theme, President Joe Biden’s $6.9 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget shows a callous disregard not only for sound fiscal policy, but also for the principles of federalism that have guided the relationship between the federal and state governments since the founding of the United States.  The proposed budget, released on March 9, 2023, doubles down on policies that the Biden administration have adopted that distort the balance of power between the federal and state governments and impose unsustainable and wasteful projects onto the states.

Throughout his first two years in office, President Biden has pushed the states to implement policies that have nothing to do with the underlying purpose of programs and often make it more difficult to achieve their objectives.  For example, when the Department of Agriculture released guidance for broadband funding through its ReConnect Program under the American Rescue Plan Act, its evaluation criteria prioritized union labor and net neutrality. 

Likewise, the ill-named Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) created state grant programs contingent on implementation of elements of the President’s climate agenda.  The legislation allocated $700 million for states to “acquire land and interests in land” with a concentration on options “that offer significant carbon sequestration benefits or provide benefits to underserved populations.”  Another provision gave states $1.5 billion in “competitive grants” to be used “for tree planting and related activities.”

A key feature of the FY 2024 budget proposal is a promise to keep “building on the Inflation Reduction Act.”  The budget states that the funding should move “toward the Administration’s climate goals,” namely “carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.”  If past behavior is any indication, achieving “environmental justice” will come at great expense to taxpayers and the division of powers between the states and the federal government without reducing sky-high energy prices or serving the needs of Americans.  To make matters worse, states will be left on the hook for these programs when federal support expires.

The President’s budget also maintains a commitment to promoting union labor at the expense of hard-working Americans who choose not to join a union.  The Biden administration’s obsession with “good paying union jobs” has morphed into a requirement that states use union labor or forgo receiving grant money for a plethora of programs, with no flexibility.  No consideration is given to whether skilled unionized labor is even available at those locations, or whether non-union laborers in a state see little benefit or even harm in being forced to join a union. 

If Californians and New Yorkers want to adopt harmful Green New Deal Policies or force their workforce to be unionized, that is their choice.  At the same time, states like Texas and Florida should be allowed to maintain the freedom to adopt and perfect policies that have allowed them to experience continual economic growth, and attract residents from other states.

Since his inauguration, President Biden has remained more committed to scoring political points with his base than fulfilling the needs of hardworking Americans.  His latest budget proposal reinforces his desire to force the states to adopt his nonproductive policies.  President Biden’s promise to “finish the job” with his latest budget proposal underscores the dangers taxpayers will continue to face if his plans are implemented.  Instead of approving this wish list of progressive policy priorities, congressional leaders should stand up for their constituents and adopt a budget that shifts power and spending out of Washington, D.C., and closer to the people in the states.

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