Biden pushes health initiatives in budget proposal

President Joe Biden released a $1.5 trillion wish list for his first federal budget, asking for substantial gains for Democratic priorities. Biden says priorities include funding a health research agency and combatting the ongoing opioid crisis. (April 9)

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: I sent to Congress my funding priorities for the appropriations process, including two key public health initiatives that I'm pushing. First is, like DARPA in the Defense Department, which was designed to develop and has developed breakthroughs to protect us and enhance our physical safety, I'm proposing a $6.5 billion appropriation for what we call ARPA-H, which is focused on-- going to focus on health issues. This is a pioneering breakthrough that we hope we can detect and treat and prevent diseases like Alzheimer's and diabetes and give us a chance to end cancer as we know it, because we'll focus exclusively on those items.

And secondly, I'm proposing a historic funding increase of 50%, of $4 billion, to end the opioid crisis, which still ravages the country and has taken so many lives over the last two years. Resources both to states and to tribes for treatment as well as prevention. It also includes the single largest funding increase ever for Title I schools, schools for disadvantaged schools, to lift up the millions of children in low-income families.

And so it doubles the funding as well for VAWA services, including resources to end the rape kit backlog. We've been working this for a long, long time, and we still have a backlog in the rape kit. And the point is, a significant number of women who have been raped and the person has not been found and convicted is because they're sitting in jail. The average rapist rapes about six times. And so out there, we want to make sure we go through this backlog and find out to bring some certitude.

So I look forward to working with Congress to advance these and other priorities. I think we're going to be able-- again, I'm hoping it'll have some bipartisan support across the board. I've already spoken to some of my Republican colleagues about dealing with the infrastructure legislation we have up there, as well as other budget items, so we're going to work on it, see if we can get some bipartisan support across the board here. But that's what we're about to do now. We're going to talk about our economic priorities, and we'll get the brief from the team here.