With budget, Trump throws opening jab in next funding fight with Congress

Mar 12, 2019, 01:16
With budget, Trump throws opening jab in next funding fight with Congress

Also likely to inflame Mr Trump's opposition is his plan for $US2.7 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade, as well as an across-the-board 5 per cent cut next fiscal year in all spending with the exception of defence, which would increase by 5 per cent to about $US750 billion. He said Trump added almost $2 trillion to deficits with the Republican's "tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, and now it appears his budget asks the American people to pay the price", the Democrat said.

To stay within prescribed budget caps, the proposal shifts about $165 billion in defense spending to an overseas contingency fund, an action critics view as an accounting gimmick.

FILE- In this December 3, 2018, file photo White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks with reporters about trade negotiations with China, at the White House in Washington.

Presidential budgets are routinely rejected by Congress, which ultimately crafts a package that wins bipartisan support. The budget proposal will be released on Monday, March 11, 2019.

The Republican president's $4.7 trillion (£3.57 trillion) budget was immediately panned by Democrats in Congress, who rejected his push past year for wall funding in a standoff that led to a five-week partial shutdown of the federal government.

Trump lost the first round in his battle with Congress over wall construction money, with lawmakers rejecting any appropriation for the wall, while offering almost $1.4 billion in money for barriers.

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"The demand", Reuters says, "which drew swift criticism from Democrats, is more than six times what Congress allocated for border projects in each of the past two fiscal years, and 6 percent more than Trump has corralled by invoking emergency powers this year". It is proposing a five percent across-the-board reduction in current non-defense discretionary spending levels for FY 2020 over the current year's.

The $US200 billion proposal is the first time since the November midterms that the White House has put a number on its infrastructure plan.

The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss budget details before Monday's release of the plan and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Larry Kudlow, a top economic adviser to Mr. Trump, said Sunday that the wall and border security issue are "of paramount importance". The White House will project the economy to grow at an average of 3 percent annually over the net decade, including 3.2 percent growth for 2019.

Nearly all of the proposals would require congressional approval, and lawmakers have dismissed cuts of similar size in Trump's past budgets. "We hope he learned his lesson", said the two top Democrats in Congress.

While the House has voted to revoke the emergency and the Senate may have enough votes to hold up the measure, neither chamber has enough votes to override an assumed veto by Trump.

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"President Trump's budget request reflects his commitment to defending our Nation, ending the opioid epidemic, and building a strong American workforce", according to the White House. If lawmakers and Trump don't reach a spending agreement by the end of September, many government operations will ground to a halt. Lawmakers from both parties oppose the emergency declaration, but Congress appears to lack a veto-proof margin to block Trump.

"He's going to stay with his wall, and he's going to stay with the border security theme", Kudlow said on Fox News Sunday.

Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer decried the move, warning Mr Trump that another legislative defeat would await him.

That will be on top of the 6.7 billion USA dollars in wall funding that Trump has ordered redirected from other government programs under a national emergency he declared last month.

A wall with Mexico played a big part in Trump's campaign for the White House, and it's expected to again be featured in his 2020 re-election effort.

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