It also provides funds for replacing buses and railcars, electrifying the federal fleet of vehicles -- including Postal Service vehicles -- and would extend and enhance tax credits for electric vehicles. Mr. Biden's budget also calls for a 35% increase in Amtrak funding and a new competitive grant program for local passenger rail.
Mr. Biden's budget spells out his plans to have the government make four additional years of schooling -- including preschool and two years of community college -- free to families, with taxpayers covering the cost. It would also substantially boost federal funding for primary and secondary schools in high-poverty areas -- so-called Title 1 schools.
The budget would give grants to states to provide universal preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds, as well as funding to ensure workers at the schools earn $15 an hour. Those two initiatives would cost $3.5 billion in the fiscal year through September 2022. Providing free community college would cost about $19 billion in the fiscal year. Those funds would go to states that agreed to put up matching funds -- $1 for every $3 the federal government contributed -- to cover tuition at community college.
The budget also calls for expanding a program that provides cash grants to students from poor and modest-income families to cover college tuition -- including at four-year schools -- and living expenses while in school. Under the proposal, eligible students would receive Pell grants of up to $8,370 a year -- some would receive less, depending on their incomes. That would be $1,875 above the current maximum award. The grants, unlike student loans, don't have to be repaid. The budget would also boost funding to colleges that serve high shares of Black, Hispanic, and Native American students.
The Agriculture Department would see a 16% funding increase, with significant additional funding for priorities like rural broadband, improving rural water infrastructure and improving forest management to prevent forest fires.
The budget would also allocate more money toward developing agricultural technologies to help farmers boost their output while also pursuing conservation initiatives and sequestering carbon on their land. The budget includes $300 million in new conservation funds, including support for voluntary private lands conservation.
A major part of the Agriculture Department's budget goes to nutrition programs: Food stamps would receive $6.7 billion under Mr. Biden's request, a $1 billion increase from this year's enacted level.
Following last year's killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, the Justice Department under the Biden administration has made a priority of improving relationships between police and the communities they serve. The budget request asks for a 5.6% increase for the agency, including new funding to promote alternatives to prison and to support community programs to try to prevent violence before it happens.
It includes around $400 million in new funds to improve relationships between law enforcement and the communities they work in; nearly $700 million for efforts to reform the criminal-justice system; and nearly $500 million in new funding for the agency's office of violence against women. Much of that proposed funding would be used to provide grants to outside groups; the request translates to a 44% increase in the amount of funding for such grants. The budget request comes as the Justice Department and local law-enforcement agencies are anticipating increased violence this summer.
The budget also asks for another $100 million to fight domestic terrorism after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, with most of the resources requested to be split between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. attorney's offices around the country. It also asked for an additional $4 million to research the root causes of domestic terrorism.
The budget requests a boost in cybersecurity funding the administration says is necessary to counter challenges posed by Russia and China.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would get an additional $110 million, bringing its funding to $2.1 billion. The bill provides $20 million for a new Cyber Response and Recovery fund.
The blueprint also proposes $500 million for the Technology Modernization Fund "to address urgent IT modernization challenges, bolster cybersecurity defenses, and improve the delivery of Covid-19 pandemic relief," and $750 million to agencies "affected by recent, significant cyber incidents," such as the SolarWinds hack, to address gaps in security capabilities.
Officials say cyberattacks pose a growing threat to national security and public safety. Mr. Biden signed an executive order in March that sought to reorient the federal government's approach to cybersecurity around prevention rather than crisis response.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration would get a 6.3% funding bump to support human and robotic exploration of the moon and Mars. Mr. Biden also calls for additional funding for aeronautics research and climate science, including beefing up climate satellite monitoring programs.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires