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Biden budget makes progress on human needs, overspends on defense and enforcement

Person holding a protest sign at Trump appearance.
     Photo: Carl Roose / AFSC

WASHINGTON, DC (May 28, 2021) Today the Biden administration released their 2022 budget, which demonstrates the president’s priorities for allocating discretionary funding for the coming year. The American Friends Service Committee – a Quaker organization that has worked for peace and justice for more than a century – applauded the reversal of some Trump-era priorities, but spoke out against the billions of dollars still going to wars, incarceration, and surveillance. AFSC staff working on different issues across the country gave the following responses.

Tori Bateman, Policy Advocacy Coordinator in Washington, DC:

“With this recommended approximately $12.5 billion increase in defense spending, for a total of $715 billion, the Biden administration has squandered an important opportunity to move money out of weapons and war, and into things that truly keep our communities safe. Congress must wholeheartedly reject this spending level, and instead cut the bloated Pentagon budget.”

Pedro Rios, director of AFSC’s U.S.-Mexico Border Program:

“While Biden has made a commitment to halt construction on the destructive border wall, his proposed Homeland Security budget calls for $1.2 billion to be spent on “border infrastructure,” which increases surveillance and harmful technology and extends militarization. People in border communities do not want their neighborhoods militarized – we want polices that sustain our environment, keep communities together, and protect human rights.”

Rick Wilson, director of AFSC's West Virginia Economic Justice Project:

“On a positive note, after years of regressive policy proposals, it’s nice to see calls for more investment in people, job creation and addressing climate change. The changes to the Child Tax Credit alone promise to reduce child poverty by more than half. It will be critical to make that a permanent policy

Jennifer Piper, Interfaith Organizing Director in AFSC’s Colorado Immigrant Rights program:

“Biden’s budget continues Trump’s harmful trend of dedicating massive amounts of funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – including over $8.3 billion for ICE and over $16.2 billion for CBP. This is a heartless mandate to these agencies to continue separating families, abusing and neglecting people in unsanitary jails and detention centers, and allowing hundreds to die in their custody. We call on the Biden Administration to defund ICE and CBP and invest in restoring community-based supports for asylum seekers, addressing the root causes of migration with direct support to local and sustainable efforts, and providing resources that make our whole communities here at home healthier and stronger.”

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.