White House eyeing $18 billion list of social program cuts

US President Donald Trump has asked Congress to cut almost $18 billion from vital domestic programs to help pay for his proposed border wall along the Mexico border.

He said that leaders of the Senate and House are close to reaching a final agreement to keep the government operating through the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year, and suggested they didn't want to gum things up with Trump's request.

Republicans in Congress are considering delaying a decision on President Trump's request for $1.5 billion this year to begin construction on a border wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Just days after the defeat of the American Health Care Act, the disagreement could set up yet another showdown between Hill Republicans and the White House as Trump attempts to take immediate action on some of his more controversial campaign pledges. The GOP members in the House do not have enough votes to get wall funding in this budget and there is a possibility that the House Republicans could force a government shutdown over funding issues on other projects that could trigger another setback for the young White House.

"All of the committees, House and Senate leaderships, are working together to try to finalize the rest of the FY17 bill", he added. But Democratic leaders are promising to block that must-pass bill if it includes any money for the wall.

White House documents were submitted to Congress amid negotiations over a catch-all spending bill that would avert a partial government shutdown at the end of next month.

The White House wants to cut about equally from the State Department's core functions, like peacekeeping, and its foreign aid programs at USAID.

Congressional Republicans have estimated a more moderate price tag of $12 billion to $15 billion.

That money would be squeezed from programs like infrastructure, community grants and medical research, the AP said.

"It remains to be seen", Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Poltico.

"Democrats, I think, are in a spot where they're open-minded to military spending as long as it doesn't come at the expense of" domestic spending, Graham said.

Senator Roy Blunt of the Appropriations committee says that plan is unlikely to go through as part of the overall spending legislation. Sen. A comprehensive budget request for FY 2018 will be delivered to Congress in May. Ed O'Keefe is a congressional reporter who has covered congressional and presidential politics since 2008.

  • Leroy Wright