WASHINGTON — The White House released a $4.4 trillion budget proposal for next year that calls for increases in military spending and cuts to domestic programs while adding a projected $7.1 trillion to the national deficit over the next decade.
President Donald Trump’s plan calls on Congress to approve $716 billion in defense spending — a seven percent increase from last year. It also requests $200 billion for infrastructure investment and $23 billion for border security enforcement, including $18 million for a southern border wall.
But the president’s fiscal roadmap does not offer a balanced budget, breaking from Trump’s initial campaign pledge, and the demands of fiscal conservatives who supported his candidacy, to balance the federal budget and eliminate the growing deficit within 10 years.
The White House budget proposal historically has served as a wish list to Congress outlining the president’s budget priorities, but has rarely been adopted completely by the body. The timing of the budget’s release — days after Congress approved a two-year spending bill that increases government spending by $300 billion — also dims the chances that lawmakers will adopt Trump’s spending blueprint as presented.
“The Budget reflects our commitment to the safety, prosperity, and security of the American people,” Trump wrote in a letter introducing the 160-page budget plan. “The more room our economy has to grow, and the more American companies are freed from constricting over-regulation, the stronger and safer we become as a Nation.”
The budget plan projects the federal government will generate $3.7 trillion less in tax revenue between 2018 and 2027 — a reduction due in part to the president’s recently adopted $1.5 trillion new tax plan that cuts corporate and personal income tax rates.
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said despite the projected deficits outlined in the plan, “we’re not condemned to trillion dollar deficits forever.” He noted that the plan calls for a $3 trillion reduction in non-military spending over the next decade.
The White House budget proposes $540 billion in domestic spending — $57 billion less than the amount approved by Congress last week.
Trump’s plan also calls for $554 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next decade, and would slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — more commonly known as the food stamps program — by $214 billion over the same period.
Other agencies facing cuts include the Department of Education which would receive $63.2 billion in funding, or 5 percent less than last year’s spending levels. The Environmental Protection Agency would face a $2.8 billion cut in funding, or 34 percent less in funding compared to last year’s allocation.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle appeared to dismiss the president’s budget plan, noting that Congress has already agreed on a two-year spending deal, and lawmakers have already been drafting a series of follow-up spending measures.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), in a statement, called Trump’s budget a “starting point” for lawmakers, and House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), said the committee “will perform our own analysis and craft legislation that reflects the will of the House and the needs of the people we represent.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), in a speech delivered on the Senate floor Monday, said: “We just passed a two-year budget on Friday, so the Trump administration should have no illusions about its budget becoming law. It won’t.”
WASHINGTON — Highlights from President Donald Trump’s budget for fiscal year 2019.
DEFENSE: Trump’s budget for 2019 shows the administration’s concern about the threat from North Korea and its missile program. The budget calls for increasing the number of strategic missile interceptors from 44 to 64 and boosting other elements of missile defense.
BORDER WALL: The second stage of Trump’s proposed border wall in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley would be 65 miles long, costing an average of $24.6 million a mile, according to the president’s 2019 budget. The proposal sets aside $782 million to hire 2,000 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and 750 more Border Patrol agents.
MEDICARE: Trump’s budget proposes major changes to Medicare’s popular prescription benefit. On the plus side for seniors, the budget requires the insurance plans that deliver the prescription benefit to share with beneficiaries a substantial portion of rebates they receive from drug makers. On the minus side, the budget calls for changing the way Medicare accounts for certain discounts that drug makers now provide to seniors with significant drug bills. That complex change would mean some seniors will end up paying more than they do now.
EDUCATION: Fulfilling a campaign promise, he is proposing to put “more decision-making power in the hands of parents and families” in choosing schools for their children with a $1.5 billion investment for the coming year. The budget would expand both private and public school choice.
OBAMACARE: The budget assumes that Congress will repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, although there’s little evidence that Republican leaders have the appetite for another battle over “Obamacare.”
The Veterans Choice health care program would get a big boost under Trump’s 2019 budget. The budget proposes an overall increase of $8.7 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, primarily to strengthen medical care for more than 9 million enrolled veterans.
The Associated Press