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 HellerNevada becomes early Senate battleground Nevada governor Sisolak injured in car accident, released from hospital Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada 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 GrahamThune endorses Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race Pennsylvania Republican becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress McCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral 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 PortmanBiden needs to be both Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Top GOP senators want joint review of Afghan visa process 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 CollinsFunding for victims of 'Havana syndrome' to be included in Pentagon bill  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Emanuel defends handling of Chicago police shooting amid opposition to nomination 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 CornynBipartisan lawmakers target judges' stock trading with new bill Cornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? 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 McCainSenate confirms four Biden ambassadors after delay Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' Grant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 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.