The Biden Administration released its top line numbers for funding the federal government in fiscal year 2022, which begins on October 1, 2021. This is sometimes called a “skinny budget” because it lacks detail.
Here is our analysis of the military portion. Overall, the Biden budget request fails to curtail the excesses of the Trump years.
The President’s budget request for National Defense, called 050, covers Pentagon spending as well as Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons programs. It has a top line that represents a 1.7% increase over the current fiscal year and stands at a whopping $753 billion.
The increase prompted Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) to note acerbically, “We cannot best build back better if the Pentagon’s budget is larger than it was under Donald Trump.”
Indeed, the Trump Administration and Congress increased the Pentagon budget by $133 billion. Moreover, the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget rose 50% during the Trump years. Think about that: 50%.
Regarding the DOE and its nuclear weapons programs, the top line number proposed by Biden is upwards of $46 billion for fiscal 2022, about 10% more than the current fiscal year’s appropriation.
Because Biden’s top line budget lacks detail, we can’t say exactly how much of the $46 billion is being requested for new warhead programs. Similarly, we cannot yet tell you what Biden’s proposed funding level will be for cleanup of contaminated nuclear weapons sites, including Livermore Lab.
We can tell you that the Biden budget will support ongoing nuclear “modernization” programs, including infrastructure at the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The 58-page skinny federal request (see below in PDF) has 2 pages for DOE, and says: “The discretionary request supports a safe, secure, and effective nuclear stockpile and a continued modernization program that includes the recapitalization of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s physical infrastructure and essential facilities to ensure the deterrent remains viable…”
In plain language, this means billions will be requested for new warhead designs and new bomb factories to build them.
That said the President’s budget request is just that. However much influence the chief executive may wield, the constitution gives to Congress the authority of the purse. Congress authorizes spending levels and appropriates the funds for them.
It is up to us to make our voices heard. The full fiscal 2022 President’s budget request will be sent to Congress in the coming months. It had been scheduled for an early May release and is now rumored to be slipping toward June.
As soon as it is available, Tri-Valley CAREs will dive into its thousands of pages and bring you the key nuclear weapons details to help inform your advocacy.
In the mean time, there are bills being introduced in Congress to curtail some nuclear weapons programs in advance of the specific budget numbers.
For example, there is a bill recently introduced in the House (H.R.1554) and in the Senate (S.595) to stop the development of a new nuclear-armed sea launched cruise missile and its associated warhead.
Plus, there is another important bill just introduced in the House (H.R.2227) and in the Senate (S.982) that would defund a new land-based ICBM, called the GBSD, and its new warhead, the W87-1 under development at Livermore Lab.
The authors of these bills are seeking additional cosponsors, and your Senators and Representatives can be contacted with the request that they do so.
You can get more information at congress.gov (type in the bill numbers). Tri-Valley CAREs is also posting summaries and the full text of the bills at trivalleycares.org.
CLICK HERE for the 58-page skinny budget (Note: DOE is 26 pages from the front).