Biden “Skinny” Budget: Insights for Environment, Science, and Oceans

The President’s “skinny” budget was released today. If enacted, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would get $6.9 billion, or an increase of more than $1.4 billion from the 2021 enacted level. This would include $800 million to expand investments in climate research, support regional and local decision-making with climate data and tools, and improve community resilience to climate change.

The budget proposal also includes major new climate investments reflecting an increase of $14 billion more than 2021 levels across nearly every agency, and includes the creation of an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Climate (ARPA-C), which was forecasted in the American Jobs Plan.

The Biden administration unveiled its first budget proposal to Congress today. This “skinny budget” offers a glimpse into President Biden's policy agenda for the 2022 fiscal year and is by no means detailed, only providing top-line agency funding numbers and broad policy priorities. Not surprisingly, most of the details included are around climate change, clean energy, and research, development, and innovation. The full President’s Budget is expected in the coming months (we’ve been hearing early-May, but the timeline is likely to slip).

The $1.52 trillion budget proposal outlines top-line figures for Biden's major priorities, although at the end of the day, Congress controls the purse strings, and it will be up to them how to allocate funding to federal agencies and whether to increase budget caps.

In total, the administration asked for $769 billion in non-defense spending, a 16% increase from the budget adopted for fiscal year 2021, and $753 billion in national defense programs — almost a 2% increase. The administration is asking Congress for $715 billion for the Department of Defense in part to "counter the threat from China," which the proposal names as the Pentagon's "top challenge."