Five takeaways from Trump’s budget request
President Trump’s first budget proposal would fundamentally reshape the federal government’s priorities, both at home and abroad.
The blueprint calls for steep cuts to social safety net programs, foreign aid and efforts to combat climate change. The savings from those cuts would be used to pay for increased spending on defense, law enforcement and counterterrorism.
Here are five takeaways from the proposal.
Much of it won’t fly with Congress
The power of the purse rests with Congress, so it will be up to lawmakers to decide which parts of Trump’s budget — if any — to keep.
Trump’s blueprint has been declared “dead on arrival” by several Republican lawmakers, reflecting widespread opposition to some of its key proposals.
While the president’s budget asks for $54 billion to boost defense spending, congressional defense hawks say that isn’t enough to meet the military’s needs.
Republicans and Democrats alike, meanwhile, are concerned by Trump’s quest to boost defense spending by making massive cuts to foreign aid.
And some fiscal conservatives aren’t sold on increasing defense spending at all, and Democrats are fuming over cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and social safety net programs.
It would shift the government’s priorities
Trump’s budget cuts would have little impact on the debt but bring sweeping change to the government.
The proposal aims to shift resources away from programs intended to help struggling communities and vulnerable populations, with the money instead going to fund defense and crime-fighting initiatives.
Cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development would kill several programs created to help urban centers and support affordable housing. The Department of Labor would lose funding for programs meant to help seniors and at-risk youth find jobs while getting more money to prevent improper unemployment benefit payments. The Transportation Department would receive less money to support rural flights and highways, while funding for public television, radio and the arts would be eliminated.
Trump’s budget also calls for axing much of the State Department’s foreign aid and cultural exchange programs and would pull funding for programs like Meals on Wheels that help seniors with limited mobility. The Education Department would lose billions in grant money meant to support low-income students and schools while funneling it into charter schools and school choice programs.
While the cuts help fund the increase in defense spending, Trump’s budget would actually increase the deficit for fiscal 2017.
It puts defense and security first
Trump made defense and crime fighting a centerpiece of his campaign, and now it’s the linchpin of his budget.
— President Trump (@POTUS) March 16, 2017
Along with the additional $54 billion in military spending, Trump’s budget would give a 7 percent boost to the Department of Homeland Security, primarily for detaining and deporting people in the country illegally and building a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The budget requests $1.5 billion to detain and remove undocumented immigrants and $314 million to hire 500 new Customs and Border Protection officers and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
The FBI would get a $249 million boost to crack down on counterterrorism and cyber crime and $80 million to help speed along immigration removal hearings.
Trump’s budget also instructs agencies to prioritize defense and fighting crime. The budget would gear more Treasury Department funds toward implementing financial sanctions, investigating terrorism financing and seizing terrorists’ bank accounts.
It pulls the US back from fighting climate change
The budget slashes funding for most of the studies and programs at the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA aimed at fighting climate change. It also kills funding for international climate protection programs at the State Department.
Trump’s proposal would also back off on commitments the Obama administration made under the 2015 Paris climate change accord and effectively sideline the U.S., one of the world’s top carbon producers, in the international fight against global warming.
It (mostly) follows the campaign blueprint
White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney said he and his aides poured through Trump’s speeches and rallies to turn his campaign promises into policies.
Trump’s promise to “take care of our veterans” translates into a 6 percent budget boost for the Department of Veterans Affairs, with $4.4 billion going toward healthcare.
His pledge to expand the military became the $54 billion defense spending boost, while his push to crack down on illegal immigration are supported with boosts to immigration enforcement.
But the budget also threatens Trump’s vow to cure diseases by pulling funding from the National Institutes of Health, and it cuts a variety of infrastructure, transportation and technology grants for rural communities — the same communities that Trump called “forgotten” by the federal government.
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