Trump releases 2019 budget with $3 trillion in cuts
by admin · Published · Updated
It includes proposals to cut deficits by more than $3 trillion over a decade and lower debt levels as a percentage of the gross domestic product, but does not balance by doing away with annual deficits.
Like other presidential budgets, Trump’s blueprint will almost certainly not become law. But it still highlights the White House’s priorities in an election year that looks to be dominated by debates about infrastructure, immigration and the nation’s economic health.
Office of Management and Budget Director (OMB) Mick Mulvaney and Cabinet secretaries will be fanning out on Capitol Hill this week to testify on the budget and defend Trump’s proposals.
Many federal agencies — including the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department — would see budget cuts compared to the fiscal 2017 enacted level. Some agencies and programs — such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the TIGER grant program for infrastructure projects and the Community Development Block Grant program — would be eliminated.
But other areas, such as the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments, would see budget increases.
The budget also proposes reforms to welfare programs and Medicare as part of the administration’s effort to reduce deficits. And it calls for repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with legislation modeled after a bill from Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.) that proposed converting funding for ObamaCare’s subsidies to block grants for states.
The White House also said it plans next month to announce an agenda to overhaul the federal government. This agenda will include items such as updating information technology and updating hiring and firing processes.
The document’s release comes after Trump on Friday signed a bipartisan budget agreement to boost defense and nondefense discretionary spending caps for 2018 and 2019 by about $300 billion.
The deal has fueled criticism from conservatives worried the GOP has lost some fiscal discipline now that it controls both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
In an addendum to the budget, Mulvaney said the administration “strongly” supports the defense spending levels in the budget deal but is proposing to fund nondefense discretionary programs at the level that’s $57 billion below the new cap.
“We believe that this level responsibly accounts for the cap deal while taking into account the current fiscal situation,” Mulvaney wrote.
The administration requested in the addendum to provide some additional funds for items such as fighting the opioid epidemic and the National Institutes of Health and also suggested fixing budget “gimmicks” used to circumvent the spending caps.
The Trump administration did not release a “Greenbook” of revenue-related proposals, citing the implementation of the new tax law. A Greenbook was also not released last year, though they are typically part of presidential budget requests.
The budget also calls for $85.5 billion in funding for veterans’ medical care and other programs to help retired service members’ quality of life and for $17 billion in opioid-related spending for 2019.
Besides money for the wall, the administration is also seeking funding to hire new law enforcement officers and pay for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to have the highest average daily detention capacity of immigrants in the country illegally.
Republican lawmakers were positive about the budget.
“This budget lays out a thoughtful, detailed, and responsible blueprint for achieving our shared agenda,” said Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
But Democrats quickly blasted the document.
“The budget is a statement of our values, but the President’s brutal collection of broken promises and staggering cuts shows he does not value the future of seniors, children and working families,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).