On Friday, President Biden released a bold new $6 trillion federal budget for fiscal year 2022 aimed at growing the economy as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, and which for the first time since the Clinton administration does not include the Hyde Amendment, a provision which prevents federal funds from being used for abortion care, and will provide increased funding for child and elder care, education, healthcare, and paid family leave among other measures.
Notably, the budget does not include the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment is a measure that bans federal funds from being used for abortion care. It specifically prevents Medicaid funds from being used for the procedure, except in cases of rape or incest or life-threatening medical conditions. It disproportionately impacts women of color who rely on Medicaid for health care. According to the Guttmacher Institute, half of all women aged 15-49 with incomes below the federal poverty level were insured through Medicaid in 2019, with 62% of those being Black women.
The Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976 in an appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services and has been renewed every year since. Part of Biden’s campaign promise to abortion rights advocates was to eliminate the Hyde Amendment from the federal budget, a promise kept today.
“Despite Roe v. Wade affirming the constitutional right to abortion, federal coverage restrictions like Hyde have made abortion accessible only to those with means—and its women of color, women with low-incomes, immigrants, and others who struggle the most to get care. But thanks to years of hard work and organizing from so many women across the country, we’re seeing real momentum towards repealing Hyde,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate appropriations committee.
“A majority of Americans support lifting these restrictions and now, finally, the President’s budget proposal would end these harmful abortion coverage restrictions too. I’m working every single day to keep building support in the Senate and to ensure that everyone can exercise their right to abortion—no matter who they are, where they come from, or how they get their insurance,” she said.
The new budget also proposes an increase in funds for family planning, including clinics that receive money under the Title X program, which was previously gutted by the Trump administration and which the Biden administration has been working to restore.
“The Biden 2022 budget is historic. It not only eliminates the Hyde Amendment, it also expands funding for reproductive healthcare, education, child and elder care, paid family leave, and other important initiatives for women, especially women of color. It’s intersectional and works to promote gender and racial equity and benefits all people, especially middle-class and low-income people who need it the most,” said Ellie Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.
It also includes $1 billion for the Department of Justice Violence Against Women programs, and increased funding for domestic violence hotlines and cash assistance, medical support and services, and emergency shelters for survivors.
The Biden budget includes both the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, two widely popular pieces of legislation that the Biden administration has formerly introduced. Both aim to help the U.S. recover from the pandemic and grow the economy by a projected 5.2% this year.
The budget also proposes programs to strengthen the “care economy”. It includes $437 billion over 10 years to provide free preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds and two years of free community college to all Americans. It will provide $36.5 billion to Title I schools, which have a disproportionate rate of children living in poverty. An additional $225 billion would help subsidize childcare, and another $225 billion would help create a national family and medical paid leave program. A further $200 billion would make the recent subsidy increases for the Affordable Care Act enacted by the American Rescue Plan permanent.
The budget also includes funding to combat the climate crisis, address the opioid epidemic, combat gun violence, and extends housing vouchers to end homelessness.
It increases funding for the Indian Health Services by $2.2 billion and provides a further $900 million to “fund tribal efforts to expand affordable housing, improve housing conditions and infrastructure, and increase economic opportunities for low-income families. The Budget also includes an increase of more than $450 million to facilitate climate mitigation, resilience, adaptation, and environmental justice projects in Indian Country, including investment to begin the process of transitioning tribal colleges in the country to renewable energy”, according to a White House fact sheet.
“This is a solid budget that reflects President Biden’s vision for investing in people and society and ensures that the economy grows, and that everyone shares in the prosperity and it understands that the public sector is a key component and moving,” said Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.