In his Inaugural address, President Trump promised to stop “the carnage”, but in his first budget he proposes carnage of a fiscal sort. A graph that illustrates Trump’s drastic proposed budget change to major federal agencies is here (Note: 16 out of 20 (80 percent) major federal agencies will see their budget cut).
He added: “Can I really go to those folks, look them in the eye and say I want to take money from you and I want to give it to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting?”. The budget says this investment will help stem the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs across the southern border.
Not everything is rosy, of course.
So what are Trump’s priorities?
Republicans praised Trump’s proposed $54 billion increase for Defense programs. The budget asks to reduce virtually every non-defense agency, for a total of $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending, about 1.2 percent lower than the enacted 2017 budget.
Other departments facing cuts include Health and Human Services, with a proposed 18 percent reduction that includes a 19 percent decrease in National Institutes of Health spending.
The Trump administration seeks to gut the arts and sciences and increase military spending. These do not make up a sizeable portion of the budget but they are emblematic of departures from the core functions and purposes of government, which is why Republicans have sporadically tried to defund them for decades.
The budget blueprint still has to go through a long review process that includes input from Congress, but science advocates are already voicing concern. He told Congress in 2013 that State Department spending reduces the need to rely on the military.
His budget proposal aims to slash Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding by 31 percent, tossing out climate change programs because as White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said, those are “a waste of your money”.
“We have moved a lot of the infrastructure spending out of the discretionary budget in anticipation of putting it back into a larger infrastructure plan – I believe we get to it hopefully by the summertime”, Mulvaney said Thursday on “CBS This Morning”. In none of the 210 metro areas in the USA can school bus drivers afford to live where they work.
Historically, lawmakers don’t pass presidential budgets introduced to much fanfare – like President Donald Trump’s was Thursday – even if the president is of the same party that controls Congress.
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President Bush “would often cave” to Democratic pressure that increases to defense spending have to be matched in domestic programs, Edwards said.
“President Trump is not making anyone more secure with a budget that hollows out our economy and endangers working families”, Pelosi said in a statement.
“While almost every Republican claims to be a fiscal conservative, many of them defend subsidy programs important to their states or personal interests”, observed Chris Edwards, editor of the Cato Institute’s DownsizingGovernment.org, who tossed out rural business subsidies as an example.