ACTION ALERT: Demand Presidential Candidates Provide Proposed Budgets

December 24th, 2019 - by World BEYOND War and ActionNetwork

Why Is Trump the Only Candidate with a Federal Budget Proposal?

World BEYOND War and ActionNetwork

 (December 20, 2019) — As far as we know, no candidate for US president (as opposed to incumbent president) has ever produced even the roughest outline of a proposed budget, and no debate moderator or major media outlet has ever asked for one.

There are candidates right now who propose major changes to education, healthcare, environmental, and military spending. The numbers, however, remain vague and disconnected. How much, or what percentage, do they want to spend where?

Some candidates might like to produce a revenue / taxation plan as well. “Where will you raise money?” is as important a question as “Where will you spend money?” What we’re asking for as a bare minimum is simply the latter.

The US Treasury distinguishes three types of US government spending. The largest is mandatory spending. This is made up largely of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but also Veterans’ care and other items. The smallest of the three types is interest on debt. In between is the category called discretionary spending. This is the spending that the Congress decides how to spend each year. What we’re asking presidential candidates for is a basic outline of a federal discretionary budget. This would serve as a preview of what each candidate would ask the Congress for as president.

President Trump is the one candidate for president in 2020 who has produced a budget proposal. Here is his latest below, via the National Priorities Project. (You’ll notice that Energy, and Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs are all separate categories, but that “Defense” has climbed to 57% of discretionary spending.)

Trump FY 2020 Discretionary Budget RequestNational Priorities Project

Is the above what you want? Of course not! But what does Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg or any of the other candidates want? We won’t know unless we persuade them to tell us.


To: US presidential candidates 
An important job of any US president is to propose an annual budget to Congress. The basic outline of such a budget can consist of a list or a pie chart communicating — in dollar amounts and/or percentages — how much government spending ought to go where. We know what President Trump’s budget proposals look like. We need to see yours. Please publish at least a basic outline of a proposed discretionary spending budget for FY2021. See more at