GOP senators knock Trump's budget proposal

GOP senators knock Trump's budget proposal
© Greg Nash

A growing number of Republican senators are distancing themselves from President Trump's annual budget proposal.

Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (Nev.), the most vulnerable GOP senator up for reelection in 2018, blasted Trump's fiscal year 2018 budget as "anti-Nevada."

“From slashing funding for important public lands programs to its renewed effort to revive the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, the President’s budget request contains several anti-Nevada provisions," he said in a statement.

Trump's budget includes money to restart licensing to store nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain after Obama halted a plan to use the mountain as a permanent storage facility for nuclear and radioactive waste. 

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Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran Trump: Anonymous news sources are 'bulls---' Trump: 'Good chance' Dems give immigration 'win' after Pelosi called White House plan 'dead on arrival' MORE (R-S.C.) told Bloomberg that Trump's proposal is "terrible," pointing to deep cuts to the State Department. As outlined in March, the proposal would cut the department and other nondefense agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency by roughly a third.

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWANTED: A Republican with courage Companies warn Trump trade war is about to hit consumers Lawmakers grapple with the future of America's workforce MORE (R-Ohio) said he also continues "to oppose this budget’s proposed elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative."

Overall, Trump's proposal would cut $1.5 trillion in nondefense spending and $1.4 trillion for Medicaid over the course of a decade, while adding nearly half a trillion dollars to defense spending.

But Republicans, who have a 52-seat majority in the Senate and can pass a budget with a simple majority, are expected to set aside many of Trump's proposals as they craft their own legislation later in the year.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition — Trump: GOP has `clear contrast' with Dems on immigration Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Colorado secretary of state bans employees from traveling to Alabama after abortion law MORE (R-Maine) said on Tuesday that the president's "budget request is always subject to significant revision."

"Throughout my time in the Senate, I have never seen a president's budget make it through Congress unchanged," she added.

Republicans routinely forced votes on Obama's proposals, which earned near unanimous rejection in 2015. Noting the Obama-era votes, Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump's immigration push faces Capitol Hill buzzsaw The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate Sinema, Gallagher fastest lawmakers in charity race MORE (R-Texas) told reporters on Monday evening that presidents' budgets are frequently "dead on arrival" in Congress.

GOP defense hawks are also taking issue with the level of defense spending in Trump's proposal, arguing it is inadequate to a military they believe has been hollowed by years of budget cuts.

“President Trump’s $603 billion defense budget request is inadequate to the challenges we face, illegal under current law, and part of an overall budget proposal that is dead on arrival in Congress," Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPelosi receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Romney: Trump 'has distanced himself from some of the best qualities of the human character' MSNBC host: Barr 'the most dangerous person' who works for Trump MORE (R-Ariz.), a frequent critic of the president, said in a statement.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the House Armed Services Committee chairman, said at a Brookings event on Monday that Trump's defense proposal was "basically the Obama approach with a bit more but not much."

McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, offered his own $640 billion defense budget, which would be roughly $54 billion above the Obama administration's projections.