During the Obama administration’s first year, when it developed the health care proposal that would become the Affordable Care Act, it also skipped key policy details from its budget tables. Likewise, the Trump administration’s first budget offered few details about its ambitions for revising the tax code, a priority that came to fruition later that year.
But both omissions occurred in the administration’s early months, before White House policymakers or congressional negotiators had time to work out the finer points. By contrast, Mr Biden’s domestic policy agenda has been the subject of extensive white papers, policy speeches and legislative texts, including a bill passed by the House in November.
The tax reform and Obamacare were big projects for those governments, but they didn’t represent the reach of their domestic aspirations the way Build Back Better does for the Biden White House.
Drafted as a single piece of legislation that could go through a special process without requiring Republican votes, the Biden administration’s plan encompassed a set of tax, social welfare and climate policy ideas that shaped much of the presidential campaign. Mr Biden’s agenda rolled in. Depending on the details, the proposal is likely to increase both spending and revenues by $1 trillion or more over a decade.
And while Trump’s budget bureau declined to specify tax data in 2017, it did promise to make substantial cuts to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act as part of its plan to “repeal and replace” the health bill.
Ironically, the Biden government’s budget does contain proposals, such as a corporate tax rate hike, that lawmakers have already scrapped from the legislation during their recent negotiations.
Last year’s budget included more of Mr Biden’s domestic policy plan, with detailed programs to combat climate change and expand childcare, for example, which became part of the Build Back Better proposal.