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Biden wants funds to electrify federal vehicle fleet in next budget

Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

President Joe Biden on Friday released a spending proposal for next fiscal year that, as expected, asks Congress to invest heavily in the electrification of America's vehicles.

In the funding proposal, the Biden administration is specifically asking for:

$600 million in new investments for the federal government to purchase electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, including $300 million to begin replacing the 200,000 fleet of vehicles provided to other agencies by the General Services Administration. $8 billion in Energy Department funding, a 27% increase over the current year, to advance clean energy research, a portion of which would go toward electric vehicles.

It also calls for more than doubling to $442 million current spending on manufacturing partnerships with universities and industry under the Commerce Department, a portion of which will be spent on increasing semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. A recent shortage of semiconductors has crippled the auto industry.

Few details, however, were included in the so-called "skinny" budget request, which includes only broad proposals and figures, with more details expected later in the spring. New administrations often provide less detailed budget proposals in the first few months of entering office.

No information about possibly increasing taxes to pay for the spending was included, though Biden has talked broadly about increasing taxes on people making more than $400,000 a year to offset federal spending.

 

Overall, the Biden budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 totals $1.52 trillion, an 8% increase over the current year's budget. It provides a slight increase of less than 2% in defense spending and a much larger one, nearly 16%, on the non-defense side of the budget.

It also seeks to restore spending levels of several agencies severely reduced under former President Donald Trump, including a 40% increase in the Department of Education. Much of that would be taken up by a $20 billion increase in financial assistance to school districts with higher numbers of low-income families.

As with all budget proposals, it is ultimately up to Congress to determine spending levels and which programs are funded. Biden's plan, however, appears to continue his administration's plans to ramp up spending.

Last week, Biden unveiled a $2-trillion infrastructure plan, saying he would fund it by increasing the corporate tax rate.

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