Trump budget sets up another battle over wall funding
| Trump budget sets up another battle over wall funding |
|2019-03-12 08:53 Shenzhen Daily|
U.S. President Donald Trump is reviving his border wall fight, preparing a new budget that will seek US$8.6 billion for the U.S-Mexico barrier while imposing steep spending cuts to other domestic programs and setting the stage for another fiscal battle.
Trump’s proposal, titled “A Budget for a Better America: Promises Kept. Taxpayers First” and set for release later yesterday, “embodies fiscal responsibility,” said Russ Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.
It calls for boosting defense spending and making US$2.7 trillion in nondefense cuts.
Vought said the administration has “prioritized reining in reckless Washington spending” and shows “we can return to fiscal sanity.”
Two administration officials confirmed that the border wall request was part of Trump’s spending blueprint for the 2020 budget year, which begins Oct. 1.
That document, which sets the stage for negotiations ahead, proposes increasing defense spending to US$750 billion — and setting up the new Space Force as a military branch — while reducing nondefense accounts by 5 percent, with cuts recommended to safety net programs used by many Americans.
The plan sticks to budget caps that both parties have routinely broken in recent years and promises to come into balance in 15 years, relying in part on economic growth that may be uncertain.
The officials were not authorized to discuss budget details publicly before the release of the plan and spoke on condition of anonymity.
While pushing down spending in some areas, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the proposal will seek to increase funding in others to align with the president’s priorities, according to one official.
The administration will invest more than US$80 billion for veterans services, a nearly 10 percent increase from current levels, including “significant” investments in rehabilitation, employment assistance and suicide prevention.
It will also increase resources to fight the opioid epidemic with money for prevention, treatment, research and recovery, the administration said. And it seeks to shift some federal student loan costs to colleges and universities. By adhering to strict budget caps, Trump is signaling a fight ahead. The president has resisted big, bipartisan budget deals that break the caps — threatening to veto one last year — but Congress will need to find agreement on spending levels to avoid another federal shutdown in fall.