Finance

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 Heller (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. 

{mosads}Sen. Lindsey Graham (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 Portman (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 Collins (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 Cornyn (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 McCain (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.

Tags Dean Heller John Cornyn John McCain Lindsey Graham Rob Portman Susan Collins

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