White House to Release First Biden Budget on May 27

The White House announced today that President Biden’s first budget request will be transmitted to Congress on Thursday, May 27.

The annual budget request is due by the first Monday in February. Since the 1990 change in law requiring that the incoming president during a transition submit their own budget (not the outgoing president submitting their last budget), every first-year Administration has missed the deadline, naturally, but never by quite this much.

Dates When Recent Presidents Submitted Their First Full Budget
President Submission Date Days Late
Bill Clinton April 8, 1993 66
George W. Bush April 9, 2001 63
Barack Obama May 7, 2009 94
Donald Trump May 23, 2017 106
Joe Biden May 27, 2021 116

(This will be the 99th federal budget – the Budget And Accounting Act of 1921, which required the President to take control of the funding requests and tax proposals of the various departments, was enacted in June 2021 and six months later produced the first centralized budget request, for fiscal 1923.)

A month ago, Biden did submit a bare-bones outline of the discretionary funding request for fiscal 2022, but this was only a bare sketch of one-third of one year’s federal spending. (For example, it only gave a two-page summary of Department of Transportation funding (see our summary here), whereas the regular budget will include a couple of thousand pages of bill language, tables, and justifications for the full agency budget. In addition, the full budget shows the details of proposed changes in tax law and in mandatory spending programs, all over a ten-year planning horizon.

The release of the full budget will make it much easier to judge the Biden American Jobs Plan because it will show exactly how much money Team Biden proposes to spend on infrastructure programs in the regular, ongoing budget in addition to the one-time spending from the AJP. The budget may also give the first details of what the Administration has in mind for surface transportation reauthorization and the long-term future of the Highway Trust Fund.

A wealth of other data is also released on the same date as the full budget, including the New Starts Annual Report, which will have updated project ratings and status for every mass transit Capital Investment Grant project in the development “pipeline.” (The big question there is, will the next report have a better rating for the Hudson River Tunnel, allowing it to proceed towards getting a federal funding grant?)

In addition, the Army Corps of Engineers releases its laundry list of proposed water projects in conjunction with the budget request (see last year’s list here), and members can’t adequately request earmarks (and the Appropriations Committee can’t write bills) until they see the Administration’s request list.

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