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White House Budget Proposal Has a Lot to Like, But Could Go Further

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House released its FY 25 budget proposal today. Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“The White House budget’s across-the-board increases would be a welcome relief to agencies and programs across the government that have seen their funding cut. In particular, it’s more critical than ever to generously fund initiatives to grapple with climate change.

“This budget demonstrates a commitment to ensuring corporations pay more of their fair share. It proposes to increase both the domestic and international corporate rates as well as to raise the corporate minimum tax rate for billion-dollar companies put in place by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). In addition, it would close the loophole that allows corporations to deduct multimillion dollar executive compensation and would significantly ratchet up the IRA’s tax on stock buybacks.

“The budget also takes on tax preferences that benefit the very wealthy by instituting a minimum tax on megamillionaires, taxing accrued gains, raising the top income tax rate, closing the carried interest loophole, and more. And it ensures the IRS would have the resources it needs to make wealthy tax cheats pay what they owe.

“The budget is right to call for negotiating the price of many more drugs and broadly penalizing price spikes to protect people outside Medicare. But the White House must not go small when the problem is so large. The budget should expand access to negotiated prices to people and insurance plans outside of Medicare. The budget also should allow prices to be negotiated sooner, immediately after a drug hits the market, rather than forcing Americans to wait nearly a decade for relief, while drug corporations take in monopoly windfalls.

“The historic increase of more than $100 million over the 2021 level for the Justice Department’s Antitrust division is also deeply important. This funding boost is desperately needed to improve enforcement of our antitrust law, which in turn will improve competition and lift wages for regular Americans.

“Critically for democracy, the budget provides state and local election officials with $5 billion in new, sustained election assistance funding over 10 years. This follows on essential commitments made by the White House in the State of the Union address to prioritize the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

“Yet it’s impossible not to comment on the $895 billion defense topline. War hawks squealing that a 1% increase to defense spending is ‘meager’ or ‘catastrophic’ lack perspective altogether. The true catastrophe is the existing scale of U.S. military spending. The Pentagon is a three-quarters-of-a-trillion dollar agency that has never once passed an audit. It’s infamous for waste, fraud, and bankrolling defense corporations. Roughly half of the total Defense Department of Defense budget goes to contractors each year. Reallocating billions away from the Pentagon and into direct human needs instead would benefit everyday Americans far more.”