On March 9, 2023, President Biden released his fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget request outlining the administration’s priorities, including a nearly 10 percent increase in discretionary spending over the current enacted funding levels. The President’s budget requests a total of $6.9 trillion federal spending for FY 2024. Of this amount, $4.2 trillion would be in mandatory spending and $1.9 trillion would be in discretionary spending. Defense spending would receive an approximately 3 percent increase from FY 2023 for a total of $885 billion in discretionary spending, while non-defense spending would receive a nearly 4 percent increase from FY 2023 levels for a total of $1.02 trillion in FY 2024. The President’s budget request proposes a 7 percent increase over current non-defense spending level and tax increases among other proposed revenue raisers designed to lower the national deficit by $3 trillion over the next 10 years.
The President’s budget request is the first step in the annual appropriations process. As the U.S. Congress holds the power of the purse, the next step is for Congress to pass a budget resolution, which provides a blueprint for all budget-related legislation, including the topline numbers governing discretionary spending for the upcoming fiscal year. The Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate will spend the next couple of months holding hearings on the budget request in preparation of their work on appropriations bills for government departments and agencies. The current divided government – with Democrats controlling the White House and the Senate, but with Republicans in the majority in the House of Representatives – and escalating partisan rhetoric on the debt ceiling raises questions about whether the political parties can navigate their way to an agreement before the current funding law expires on September 30. One thing is clear, the President’s budget priorities stand in stark contrast with the emerging House Republican agenda, and the final FY 2024 appropriations law will vary significantly from President Biden’s request.
The following summary, based on a review of the budget request and accompanying Fact Sheet and Analytical Perspectives, provides highlights from each section of the President’s budget proposal. Please reach out to the Crowell Government Affairs Group for more detail in any given area.
Department of Agriculture: $209.7 billion
President Biden’s proposed 2024 budget includes nearly $210 billion for the Department of Agriculture (USDA), calling for Congress to focus on climate smart agriculture, support for underserved communities, increased market access and food security in the 2023 Farm Bill Reauthorization process. The budget includes a $1.9 billion increase to combat climate change with continued investments for the agency’s hallmark conservation programs. It would make the Cover Crop Incentive Program permanent. The proposal also requests additional funds to support rural communities in the switch to clean energy and expand the reach of USDA Climate Hubs. The budget fully funds the work of the Food Safety and Inspection Service, and includes $6.3 billion to support the more than six million individuals expected to participate in the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) nutrition program. President Biden’s budget request also calls for an investment of $240 million to support new supply chains that support small and mid-sized farms, and $262 million for the Foreign Ag Service to reduce trade barriers for U.S. agriculture exports and open new markets. Among other earmarks, the budget request sets aside $2.4 billion for the Water and Wastewater program and another $400 million is earmarked for broadband expansion.
Department of Commerce: $16.3 billion
The budget requests $12.3 billion in discretionary funding and $4 billion in mandatory funding to support key Commerce Department priorities such as manufacturing and supply chain resiliency, strengthening equitable economic growth, and enhancing climate change response programs, including the advancement of ongoing investments resulting from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. This is a 10.7 percent increase from the enacted 2023 budget levels. Highlights of the budget request include a $6.8 billion investment in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to enhance weather and climate satellites and further climate research programs. Another key priority for the administration, supply chain resiliency and domestic manufacturing expansion, is addressed in the budget by including $277 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Notably, the budget also requests $4 billion in mandatory funding and $804 million in discretionary funding for existing programs in the Economic Development Administration to support regional economics, create jobs, and grow a diverse and skilled workforce. Additionally, the budget expands data and research capacity by investing in the Census Bureau and research infrastructure at NIST, NOAA, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
Department of Defense: $842 billion
With the U.S. and its allies facing multiple challenges around the globe – the year-long war following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Chinese aggression toward Taiwan and elsewhere, North Korea’s resumed intercontinental missile tests, and others – President Biden’s budget proposes $842 billion in 2024 discretionary spending for the Department of Defense, a $26 billion increase from current levels. Responding to those threats, the budget calls for $9.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, $6 billion in support for Ukraine, and $37.7 billion to continue U.S. nuclear arsenal modernization. Additionally, President Biden calls for unspecified spending to optimize and modernize U.S. shipbuilding, bolster cybersecurity programs, provide robust funding for biodefense and pandemic preparedness, and to procure an assortment of both manned and unmanned combat aircraft. Finally, the proposed budget includes a 5.2 percent pay raise for uniformed and civilian servicemembers, as well as annual increases for housing and subsistence allowances. While the Biden budget proposes a 3.2 percent increase in overall defense spending, non-defense spending would rise at more than twice that rate in the next fiscal year.
Department of Education: $90 billion
The President’s budget requests $90 billion for the Department of Education, an increase of $10.8 billion (13.6 percent) over FY 2023 enacted levels. Among the budget’s key priorities are improved academic success and teacher pipeline, career readiness and global engagement, and funding for new programs to continue addressing academic recovery efforts and closing achievement gaps. The plan’s two largest spending categories for K-12 are for high-poverty schools, with $20.5 billion for Title I, and $16.8 billion for pre-K-12 special education services. Other initiatives include $500 million for a new demonstration program to expand access to free preschool and $578 million to increase the number of school-based counselors, psychologists, social workers, and other health professionals in K-12 schools, as well as boost mental health supports in colleges. The proposal also requests $13.1 billion for young children from low-income families, and requests a 17 percent increase for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to include grants that would cover nearly 13 percent of the national average per pupil cost of special education services. Another $304 million is requested to address special education teacher shortages. Other notable education-related budget requests include additional funding over current levels to expand investments in community schools, support multilingual learners, foster diverse schools, improve career and college pathways, and enforce civil rights.
Department of Energy: $52 billion
The President’s budget requests $52 billion for the Department of Energy, an increase of $6.2 billion over the FY 2023 enacted levels. Highlights of the budget include $11.9 billion – a 20 percent increase in funding over the FY 2023 enacted level – to support climate and clean energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment programs. In addition, the DOE Office of Science would receive $8.8 billion, which would support programs authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act. Programs to support workforce development would receive about $2 billion, and efforts to reduce industrial emissions and support decarbonization in manufacturing would receive $1.2 billion. Under the budget request, programs to clean up legacy pollution from Manhattan Project and nuclear weapons production would receive $8.3 billion.
Department of Health and Human Services: $145.3 billion
The budget request allocates more than $145 billion in discretionary funding to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an 11.4 percent increase from the FY 2023 enacted level. The budget proposal focuses on several key areas, including: ensuring Medicare solvency, closing the Medicaid coverage gap, making permanent ACA enhanced subsidies, building upon drug price negotiation reforms, and boosting funding for Medicaid home and mental healthcare services. Additional priorities include improving cancer screening, advancing cutting-edge research, supporting patients and caregivers, and decreasing the impact of preventable cancers. The budget proposes to reduce the federal deficit by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade; it aims to expand the solvency of the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund by 25 years by closing tax loopholes and increasing the tax by 1.2 percent for households earning above $400,000. The budget proposes to close the Medicaid coverage gap in states that have not expanded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA); it also proposes to allocate $183 billion over the next 10 years to make enhanced tax credits, enacted originally under the American Rescue Plan and extended into 2025 by the IRA, permanently. The budget also requests $150 billion over 10 years to boost Medicaid home- and community-based services and also proposes to expand the reach and size of the Health Center Program by doubling program funding over the next five years that aids community health centers. The budget earmarks $350 million to expand programs for training and supporting new nurses to help mitigate the ongoing labor crisis in the hospital and physician office communities, and also prioritizes mental healthcare, proposing to dedicate $836 million to the 9-8-8 Crisis Text Line and Behavioral Health Services program. Additionally, the budget requests Congress to reauthorize the federal Cancer Moonshot program; provide $3.5 billion for moonshot efforts across FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H); and allocate $3.6 billion to the National Cancer.
Department of Homeland Security: $60.4 billion and $20.4 billion for Disaster Relief Fund
The budget request would increase funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by approximately $3 billion, while also calling for an additional $20.1 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to address major disasters. The budget increases funding for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) by $149 million for a total of $3.1 billion for the agency. Within these amounts, it provides $98 million to implement the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act (CIRCIA) and $425 million for the new Cyber Analytics Data System. The budget adds $4.0 billion for FEMA climate resilience programs, an increase of over $150 million from FY 2023. The budget also includes $123 million to support investments into Zero-Emission Vehicles and charging infrastructure. The budget has $12.1 billion in net discretionary funding for the Coast Guard, including $320 million new icebreaker ships for the Coast Guard, increasing U.S. access and presence in the Artic region. The budget provides $865 million for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), with $535 million in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) funding, including $305 million for new tech systems and $113 million to hire new Border Patrol Agents and Customs and Border Protection Officers. Finally, the budget provides $3 billion in for the U.S. Secret Service, including $191 million to protect candidates in the 2024 presidential campaign.
Department of Housing and Urban Development: $73.3 billion
The budget request increases funding for many of the Biden administration’s priorities, such as rental assistance for low-income households, modernizing energy efficiency in affordable housing, and addresses housing discrimination, among other concerns. The $73.3 billion funding request is a slim 1.6 percent increase from the enacted 2023 appropriation. Within this request is $7.5 billion in mandatory funding for the modernization of Public Housing, $1.8 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships program, and $410 million to reduce lead-based paint and health hazards from low-income families with children. Additionally, a $116 million increase in Homeless Assistance Grants is included to provide $3.7 billion to 25,000 households that include domestic violence survivors and homeless children.
Department of the Interior: $18.8 billion
The Department of the Interior (DOI) would receive $18.8 billion under the President’s FY 2024 budget request – an increase of $1.6. billion over FY 2023 enacted levels. DOI programs that support climate adaptation and resilience would receive $5.7 billion under the budget request. The budget request designates $181 million to support development of clean energy on federal lands – $70 million more than the FY 2023 enacted level. The President’s budget also seeks $311 million to clean up abandoned mines and oil and gas wells. Tribal programs would receive $4.7 billion under the budget, and the Indian Water Rights Settlement Completion Fund would receive $2.8 billion.
Department of Justice: $39.7 billion
The President’s FY 2024 budget request for the Department of Justice (DOJ) responds to high rates of gun violence and other violent crime by investing $17.8 billion in total to bolster federal law enforcement, an increase of $1.2 billion compared to FY 2023 funding levels. The proposal also offers $4.9 billion in discretionary funding in addition to $30 billion in mandatory funding to support state, local, and Tribal law enforcement to promote public safety. Furthermore, the President’s budget recommends $252 million to strengthen civil rights protections, an increase of $62 million compared to FY 2023 funding levels and $1 billion to support programs to combat gender-based violence. Furthermore, the President proposes to expand the federal government’s ability to pursue cyber threats offering $63 billion to hire additional agents and improve cyber response capabilities. Finally, the proposal includes a $100 million increase in budget for DOJ’s Antitrust Division to enforce antitrust law to “help reduce [consumer] costs and raise wages.”
Department of Labor: $15.1 billion
The President’s 2024 budget requests $15.1 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Labor to “advance equity in all aspects of [the Department’s work] work, including enforcing lifesaving safety and health laws, advancing Registered Apprenticeships and sector-based training, and securing retirements for millions of workers and families,” according to then Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. The request invests $2.3 billion, an increase of $430 million year-over-year, to worker protection agencies to promote fair and safe workplaces, including for military spouses and especially for those in underserved communities, and to combat child labor and discrimination and enhance equity and education outreach. Part of the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity investments includes support for the Civil Rights Center’s enforcement work, the Women’s Bureau, and the Office of Disability Employment Policy. The budget also requests $3.7 billion to improve access and equity in the unemployment insurance system, including several efforts to combat fraud in the UI program, responding to Congressional investigations into the matter. Additionally, the budget requires all health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder benefits and includes $275 million over 10 years to ensure large market health plans comply with these requirements.
Department of State and International Programs: $70.5 billion
The President’s 2024 budget requests $70.5 billion in discretionary funding for State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other international programs, which is $7 billion above the 2023 enacted level. The budget includes $63.1 billion for State and USAID, as well as $4 billion for international programs at the Department of the Treasury. The request includes vital assistance to support the administration’s foreign policy priorities, including to assist the people of Ukraine. The request also includes funding to respond to complex emergencies, invest in lasting food security, address rising inequality, and promote equitable economic growth and inclusive development. The budget also requests both mandatory and discretionary resources to out-compete China, strengthen the U.S. role in the Indo-Pacific, and advance American prosperity globally through new investments to respond to these unprecedented and extraordinary times.
Department of Transportation: $27.8 billion
In a little more than two years since taking office, President Biden has been confronted with numerous major crises affecting nearly every mode of transportation, from crippling congestion at the nation’s port, to the malfunction of a key Federal Aviation Administration information system that caused the first nationwide ground stop in more than two decades, and the recent spate of train derailments – most notably the East Palestine, OH disaster. The proposed Department of Transportation (DOT) budget requests $27.8 billion for 2024, a $1.8 billion (6.7 percent) increase and includes funding for investments in improved rail safety and efficiency, increased spending to hire and train air traffic controllers and to modernize the National Airspace System, and additional funds to strengthen maritime freight capacity. In addition to discretionary budget spending, the proposed DOT budget also includes $80.3 billion in contracting authority and $36.8 billion in emergency-designated advance budget authority. Finally, it includes increased investments to build out a national network of electric vehicle charging stations, a $116 million increase for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to improve motor vehicle and highway safety, and nearly $4.5 billion for 18 major transit and surface transportation projects in 11 states.
Department of the Treasury: $16.3 billion
Overall, the President requests an increase of $2.1 billion or 15 percent in discretionary budget authority for the Department of the Treasury for the 2024 fiscal year compared to 2023 funding levels. The President proposes additional funding to support implementation of various components of the Inflation Reduction Act. Specifically, the President requests additional funding to improve IT infrastructure to increase tax compliance for high income individuals and corporations and to administer new energy tax credits. Additionally, the President proposes $341 million, a five percent funding increase compared to FY 2023, for Community Development Financial Institutions to support historically underserved and low-income communities; $215 million to strengthen the Treasury Department’s cyber security efforts, and $332 million to restore the agency’s staffing to 2016 levels to support new programs like the Treasury Department’s Climate Hub.
Department of Veterans Affairs: $325.1 billion
The President’s budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) includes a discretionary budget request of $142.8 billion — a $3 billion (more than 5 percent) increase over FY 2023 enacted levels; the 2024 mandatory funding request is $182.3 billion, an increase of $13.6 billion above 2023. It requests $20.3 billion in 2024 to fund the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT Act), legislation signed last year that expands VA healthcare and benefits to veterans across all eras who were exposed to toxins as a result of their military service. Under the proposal, the Cost of War Toxic Exposures Fund would receive $15.3 billion above its 2023 funding for health care, research and benefits delivery associated with exposure to environmental hazards for veterans and their survivors. The budget also seeks $16.6 billion for mental health efforts, including suicide prevention, up from $15 billion in 2023. It also earmarks $3.1 billion to provide homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness with permanent housing, access to health care and other supportive services. Among other notable priorities, the budget also sets aside $4.1 billion in discretionary and mandatory spending for construction to begin restoring VA’s aging infrastructure as well as a $5 billion investment in discretionary medical care funding for non-recurring maintenance to improve medical facility infrastructure, and asks for $1.6 billion for VA’s electronic health record modernization effort.
Environmental Protection Agency: $12 billion
The Environmental Protection Agency would receive $12 billion under the President’s budget request – a $1.9 billion increase over FY 2023 enacted levels. The budget would support hiring an additional 2,400 FTEs, bringing EPA’s workforce to 17,000 FTEs. EPA’s climate change programs would receive $5 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve resilience to climate change. EPA’s water infrastructure programs would receive $4 billion – a $1 billion increase over the FY enacted levels. The budget would also provide $2.9 billion for the Superfund program – an increase of $1.2 billion over enacted FY 2023 levels.