President Donald Trump unveiled a budget plan this week to get control of a deficit that is set to blow past $1 trillion this year — but Democrats are already signaling they’ll shoot it down.
Trump’s 2021 budget is asking for major cuts to domestic spending, including safety net programs, foreign aid, and federal agencies like the Education Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Hill reported Sunday. As Trump’s re-election draws closer, the plan provides an outline of the president’s priorities: $2 billion for the border wall, increases in military spending, and more funding for NASA are also included.
For their part, Democrats, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have called the plan unworkable and suggested that it threatens the “good health, financial security, and well-being of hard-working American families.”
“Year after year, President Trump’s budgets have sought to inflict devastating cuts to critical lifelines that millions of Americans rely on,” Pelosi said in a statement ahead of the proposal’s release.
Trump makes big cuts
The new Trump budget looks to get control of the deficit by 2035 with $4.4 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years. The White House is assuming that continued economic growth will help close the gap.
The $4.8 trillion budget calls for $2 trillion in cuts to mandatory spending programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and disability benefits, which it aims to downscale with tighter eligibility requirements, and it looks to cut $130 billion from Medicare costs with drug pricing reforms, Reuters reported.
Also included are $2 trillion in cuts to nondefense discretionary spending targeting federal departments long unpopular with conservatives: Trump’s plan calls for a 26% cut to the EPA, an 8% cut to the Department of Education, and more.
Money for the wall
In keeping with Trump’s “America First” foreign policy, which calls for other countries to share the burdens of defense and international assistance, the also budget calls for a 21% cut to foreign aid, Fox News reported. But while downsizing foreign aid and safety net spending, the budget seeks $2 billion for Trump’s border wall and a 3% increase in spending for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration enforcement.
The budget also calls for 0.3% increase in military spending, bringing it up to $740.5 billion, as well as a 12% boost to NASA and a 13% increase in spending for the Department of Veteran Affairs. Trump has consistently said that beefing up America’s military and protecting veterans are priorities of his administration, and at his State of the Union address last week, he touted the Artemis Program, which seeks to put the first woman on the moon, as part of America’s “manifest destiny” in outer space.
“We must embrace the next frontier, America’s manifest destiny in the stars,” Trump said Tuesday, according to U.S. News & World Report. “I am asking Congress to fund this program to ensure that the next man and first woman on the moon will be American astronauts, using this as a launching pad to ensure that America is the first nation to plant its flag on Mars.”
A deal in the making
Trump’s budget breaks with a two-year budget deal that Congress passed in August, which raised caps on military spending as well as nondefense safety net expenditures, The Hill noted. The 2021 budget leaves in place the roughly $740 billion in military spending agreed to over the summer, but cuts nondefense spending cap from $630 billion down to $590 billion.
Like all budget proposals, however, Trump’s is just an outline that Congress probably will reject. But as a statement of Trump’s priorities, it’s reassuring: the president is clearly still focused on securing the southern border and putting America first.