Environmental and state departments face the greatest reductions in Trumps proposed budget, while the border wall would receive an immediate $1.4bn
Donald Trump unveiled a $1.15tn budget on Thursday, a far-reaching overhaul of federal government spending that would slash many domestic programs to finance a significant increase in the military and make a downpayment on a US-Mexico border wall.
Trumps proposal seeks to upend Washington with cuts to long-promised campaign targets like foreign aid and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as strong congressional favorites such as medical research, help for homeless veterans and community development grants.
A budget that puts America first must make the safety of our people its number one priority because without safety, there can be no prosperity, Trump said in a message accompanying his proposed budget, whose title, America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, borrows a phrase denounced by the Anti-Defamation League for its links to 1940s Nazi sympathizers.
The $54bn boost for the military is the largest since Ronald Reagans Pentagon buildup in the 1980s, promising immediate money for troop readiness, the fight against Islamic State militants and procurement of new ships, fighter jets and other weapons. The 10% Pentagon boost is financed by $54bn in cuts to foreign aid and domestic agencies that had been protected by Barack Obama.
The budget goes after the frequent targets of the partys staunchest conservatives, eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts, legal aid for the poor, low-income heating assistance and the AmeriCorps national service program established by Bill Clinton.
This is a hard power budget, not a soft power budget, said White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.
Such programs were the focus of lengthy battles dating to the GOP takeover of Congress in 1995 and have survived prior attempts to eliminate them.
Lawmakers will have the final say on Trumps proposal in the arduous budget process, and many of the cuts will be deemed dead on arrival.
The administrations budget isnt going to be the budget, said Senator Marco Rubio. We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets.
Mulvaney acknowledged to reporters that passing the cuts could be an uphill struggle and said the administration would negotiate over replacement cuts.
This is not a take-it-or-leave-it budget, Mulvaney said.
Law enforcement agencies like the FBI would be spared, while the border wall would receive an immediate $1.4bn infusion in the ongoing fiscal year, with another $2.6bn planned for the 2018 budget year starting 1 October.
Trump repeatedly claimed during the campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall when, in fact, US taxpayers are almost certain to foot the bill.
Twelve of the governments 15 Cabinet agencies would absorb cuts under the presidents proposal. The biggest losers are agriculture, labor, state and the cabinet-level EPA. The defense department, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Veterans Affairs are the winners.
More than 3,000 EPA workers would lose their jobs and programs such as Obamas Clean Power Plan, which would tighten regulations on emissions from power plants seen as contributing to global warming, would be eliminated. Popular EPA grants for state and local drinking and wastewater projects would be preserved, however, even as research into climate change would be eliminated.
Trumps proposal covers only roughly one-fourth of the approximately $4tn federal budget, the discretionary portion that Congress passes each year. It doesnt address taxes, social security, Medicare and Medicaid, or make predictions about deficits and the economy. Those big-picture details are due in mid-May, and are sure to show large probably permanent budget deficits. Trump has vowed not to cut Social Security and Medicare and is dead set against raising taxes.
The presidents going to keep his promises to leave Social Security and Medicare alone, Mulvaney said.
But the budget increases user fees, boosting the airline ticket tax by $1 per one-way trip. It would also slash subsidies for the federal flood insurance program thats a linchpin for the real estate market, especially in coastal southern states and the Northeast.
The so-called skinny budget is indeed thin, glossing over cuts to many sensitive programs such as community health centers, national parks, and payments for rural schools, offering only a vague, two-page summary of most agencies, including the Pentagon, where allocating its additional billions is still a work in progress.
Trumps proposal is sure to land with a thud on Capitol Hill, and not just with opposition Democrats outraged over cuts to pet programs such as renewable energy, climate change research and rehabilitation of housing projects.
Republicans like Senator Rob Portman of Ohio are irate over planned elimination of a program to restore the Great Lakes. Top Republicans like majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senate foreign relations committee chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee are opposed to drastic cuts to foreign aid. And even GOP defense hawks like armed services committee chairman Mac Thornberry of Texas arent satisfied with the $54bn increase for the military.
Before the two sides go to war over Trumps 2018 plan, they need to clean up more than $1.1tn in unfinished agency budgets for the current year. A temporary catchall spending bill expires 28 April; negotiations have barely started and could get hung up over Trumps request for the wall and additional border patrol and immigration enforcement agents, just for starters.
Some of the most politically sensitive domestic programs would be spared, including food aid for pregnant women and their children, housing vouchers for the poor, aid for special education and school districts for the poor and federal aid to historically black colleges and universities.
But the National Institutes of Health would absorb a $5.8bn cut despite Trumps talk in a recent address to Congress of finding cures to the illnesses that have always plagued us. Subsidies for airlines serving rural airports in Trump strongholds would be eliminated. It would also shut down Amtraks money-losing long-distance routes and kill off a popular $500m-per-year TIGER Grant program for highway projects created by Obama.
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