President Trump is releasing a $4.7 trillion budget plan Monday that stands as a sharp challenge to Congress and the Democrats trying to unseat him, the first act in a multi-front struggle that could consume Washington for the next 18 months.
The budget proposal dramatically raises the possibility of another government shutdown in October, and Trump used to the budget to notify Congress he is seeking an additional $8.6 billion to build sections of a wall along the U. S.-Mexico border.
The budget also calls on increased military spending, another in a string of proposals that prompted Democrats to label the budget a non-starter that will not win congressional support. If lawmakers and Trump don’t reach a spending agreement by the end of September, many government operations will ground to a halt.
Trump’s “Budget for a Better America” also includes dozens of spending cuts and policy overhauls that frame the early stages of the debate for the 2020 election. For example, Trump for the first time calls for cutting $845 billion from Medicare, the popular health care program for the elderly that in the past he had largely said he would protect.
His budget would also propose a major overhaul of Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans run jointly with states, by turning more power over to states. This would save $241 billion over 10 years.
Other agencies, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency, State Department, Transportation Department, and Interior Department, would see their budgets severely reduced.
“With severe cuts to essential programs and services that would leave our nation less safe and secure, the Trump budget is as dangerous as it is predictable. It has no chance in the House,” House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said ahead of the document’s release.
More broadly, Tump’s budget would impose mandatory work-requirements for millions of people who receive welfare assistance while dramatically increasing the defense budget to $750 billion next year, a 5 percent increase from 2019.
Trump and other Republicans have said the federal budget is full of waste and bloat, and that many federal agencies could still perform their functions with less taxpayer assistance. And even though they have proposed budget cuts before, only to be rejected by Congress, his top advisers want to dig in on the cuts this year, convinced Americans will support them.
Still, according to Trump’s budget, the spending cuts would do little to reduce what is shaping up to be a colossal deficit in the next several years. The budget would spend much more money than it brings in through revenue, and that gap is called the deficit.
The budget foresees a $1.1 trillion deficit in 2019, 2020, and 2021, and a $1 trillion deficit in 2022.
These deficits will add to the existing $22 trillion debt and put further strain on the budget. For example, the White House now projects the government will spend $482 billion on interest payments for the debt next year, more than the entire budget for Medicaid, which provides health care benefits for millions of people.
Republicans have long called for taking steps that shrink — or even eliminate — the deficit, and putting forward a plan that would create $4.3 trillion in new debt over four years could give Democrats fresh targets on the campaign trail.
The budget does reflect the changing nature of Trump’s agenda since taking office.
He has continued to try to pump more money into the military and border security programs, and the budget provides funding for the creation of a “Space Force,” and a U.S. Space Command, ideas Trump has personally pushed even while he ran into some resistance from military leaders and congressional Republicans.
While his Democratic rivals for the White House next year ramp up their attacks on his policy agenda, Democrats in Congress are planning to challenge him in the coming months on his budget plan. In addition to the Sept. 30, 2019 deadline to reach a spending agreement, lawmakers believe they will also need to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling around that time.
The debt ceiling is a borrowing cap established by Congress, and it prohibits the Treasury Department from issuing more debt. The government is bumping up against the debt limit now, and the Treasury Department has begun emergency steps to buy more time so Congress can eventually vote to raise it. Several lawmakers have said they expect the debt ceiling to be raised as part of a broader budget deal this summer or fall.
But if budget talks bog down later this year amid a fight over border wall funding, it could force lawmakers to rethink this timeline and their entire approach.
Hardcore conservative budget, while totally obliterating the notion of fiscal conservatism. Huge funding of a military (even though Trump doesn’t want to use them abroad) and cutting of social programs that HELP people. Like Medicare, which Trump promised in the campaign not to touch.
Cutting $845 billion from Medicare is no small thing: it’s about 10 percent of total Medicare spending. (As usual with budgets, this is a ten-year number, not a cut for a single year.) In fact, this is so far from being peanuts that it’s nearly insane. Did Mick Mulvaney put this in without Trump knowing about it? Or is Trump testing the theory that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and his fans wouldn’t care?
Trump's budget also calls for charging premiums to low-income people who currently get free subsidized plans on the Obamacare exchanges https://t.co/qIIhLWyjkv— Alice Miranda Ollstein (@AliceOllstein) March 11, 2019
Big numbers to chew on:— West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport) March 11, 2019
1) Trump inherited a debt (per end of Obama’s last budget for FY 2017) of $20.24 trillion
2) It has accelerated to $22.11T (as of Feb. 28)
3) Trump forecasts $24T in 2020
4) CBO forecasts $33T by FY 2018 (begins 10/1/2027)
Important to remember:
Household net worth falls by the largest amount since the Great Recession, new Fed data shows. https://t.co/FifvYs2qhY— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 11, 2019