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Biden unveils $5.8 trillion 2023 budget, calls for more defense spending and wealth tax

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Biden unveils $5.8 trillion 2023 budget, calls for more defense spending and wealth tax
President Biden said on Monday that he's calling for "one of the largest investments in our national security in history, with the funds needed to ensure that our military remains the best-prepared, best-trained, best-equipped military in the world." File Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

March 28 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden unveiled his budget request for fiscal 2023 on Monday, which calls for almost $6 trillion and includes what he called "one of the largest investments in our national security in history."

Biden's 2023 budget calls for $5.8 trillion -- about $813 billion of which is for national security spending. About $770 million is earmarked for the U.S. military -- an increase of $69 billion, almost 10%, over what the Defense Department received for 2022.

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The budget says the increase funds efforts like countering global threats, modernizing U.S. nuclear forces and improving cybersecurity.

It's no coincidence that Biden's budget calls for an increase in defense spending amid Russia's war in Ukraine.

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"I'm calling for one of the largest investments in our national security in history, with the funds needed to ensure that our military remains the best-prepared, best-trained, best-equipped military in the world," Biden said in a statement Monday.

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"In addition, I'm calling for continued investment to forcefully respond to Putin's aggression against Ukraine with U.S. support for Ukraine's economic, humanitarian and security needs."

A group of Republican lawmakers say that Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine and increased militarization in China create a need to "modernize" U.S. forces and fill "ongoing readiness gaps" including cybersecurity. Photo by Spc. Joshua Cowden/U.S. Army/UPI File Photo by Sgt. Stephen P. Perez/U.S. Army/UPI

A group of 40 Republican lawmakers led by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., and Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., sent a letter requesting a 5% increase in military spending. They said "threats to our national security have grown exponentially" during the past year.

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Citing Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine and increased militarization in China, the lawmakers urged Biden to "target investments in programs that will modernize the force and fill ongoing readiness gaps," including cybersecurity and naval and projection forces.

"If we do not make the investments our military needs today, we will not be able to defend our nation or our allies in the future," the lawmakers wrote. "The security of the free world depends on a credible American military. We must work together to ensure the men and women of our Armed Services have the resources and support they need to successfully carry out their missions now and for decades to come."

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Last year, Biden asked for $715 billion for defense spending for fiscal 2022 -- which was a decrease from the amount former President Donald Trump requested for 2021 in his final year in office.

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Monday's budget outline also signaled new efforts to rein in borrowing and decrease the federal deficit.

Last year, Biden's budget sought to increase the deficit over 10 years by almost $1.4 trillion. This year, it aims to reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion each year starting in 2030.

"My administration is on track to reduce the federal deficit by more than $1.3 trillion this year, cutting in half the deficit from the last year of the previous administration and delivering the largest one-year reduction in the deficit in U.S. history," Biden said. "That's the direct result of my administration's strategy to get the pandemic under control and grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out.

"My budget will continue ... progress, further reducing the deficit by continuing to support the economic growth that has increased revenues and ensuring that billionaires and large corporations pay their fair share."

As he mentioned, Biden's proposal also includes a "Billionaire Minimum Income Tax" that would impose a 20% tax on all households worth more than $100 million. It's expected that would affect the 700 richest people in the United States.

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"The tax code currently offers special treatment for the types of income that wealthy people enjoy. This special treatment, combined with sophisticated tax planning and giant loopholes, allows many of the very wealthiest people in the world to end up paying a lower tax rate on their full income than many middle-class households," the 156-page budget states.

"To finally address this glaring problem, the budget includes a 20% minimum tax on multi-millionaires and billionaires who so often pay indefensibly low tax rates. This minimum tax would apply only to the wealthiest 0.01% of households -- those with more than $100 million -- and over half the revenue would come from billionaires alone."

President Joe Biden leaves the Holy Trinity Church in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on Sunday. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI

Biden's budget also proposes to increase the corporate tax rate -- taxes that corporations pay on their profits -- to 28%.

"Corporations received an enormous tax break in 2017. While their profits have soared, their investment in the economy did not," it states. "Those tax breaks did not trickle down to workers or consumers.

Instead of allowing some of the most profitable corporations in the world to avoid paying their fair share, the budget would raise the corporate tax rate to 28%, still well below the 35% rate that prevailed for most of the last several decades."

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Monday's budget proposal comes amid rising inflation that increased by about 8% in the 12 months ending in February, the steepest 12-month increase since 1982.

Inflation has been a particular concern for Biden and Democrats as they head into the midterm elections in November. Some analysts said the budget on Monday needed to be careful how much inflation it forecast for making its figures work -- too low and it won't be believable, but too high and it will be political ammunition for Republicans.

The budget for 2023 does not include, however, any proposals for the president's Build Back Better Act -- a $1.2 trillion proposal stalled in Congress that would fund a number of Democrats' most progressive efforts, such as moves to mitigate climate change. That suite of legislation stalled after failing to receive support from moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Traditionally, the president's budget is merely a request from Congress as lawmakers are the ones who create and pass legislation setting the parameters of government spending.

"My budget also makes the investments needed to reduce costs for families and make progress on my Unity Agenda -- including investments to cut the costs of child care and healthcare; help families pay for other essentials; end cancer as we know it; support our veterans; and get all Americans the mental health services they need," Biden added.

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"All told, it is a budget that includes historic deficit reduction, historic investments in our security at home and abroad, and an unprecedented commitment to building an economy where everyone has a chance to succeed."

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