White House Budget Thin On Support For Border Wall

Support for Trump's Medicaid cuts is not found with all Republicans.

The Senate's No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, says it's "basically dead on arrival".

The proposal does not include any changes to Social Security or Medicare spending.

Trump's plan for the budget year beginning October 1 makes deep cuts in safety net programs, including Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Trump got broad support in last November's election in counties with high numbers of white voters who receive food stamps.

"We need people to go to work", White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Monday.

Democrats are likely to submit an alternative to Trump's budget later this year after having declined to do so at times with Obama in the White House. Mexico emphatically rejects that notion.

It wasn't just Democrats who dismissed the blueprint as a "nightmare" scenario, with its beefed up military spending and tax breaks for the wealthy; Republicans also winced at steep domestic program cuts and rosy growth projections that may not achieve its promise of balancing deficits.

The welfare portion of Mr. Trump's proposal would give states increased authority to impose work requirements and eligibility restrictions for welfare programs, and his budget would slash an estimated $274 billion from anti-poverty programs over ten years.

There are no cuts to Medicare or core Social Security benefits, though the budget would tighten access to the Social Security disability program.

"It'll face a tough sled over here", Rep. Hal Rogers (R., Ky.), a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said of the Trump budget.

The budget plan may face rough sledding in Congress, where both Republicans and Democrats have said they do not support such drastic cuts to USA diplomacy and foreign aid.

GOP Rep. Fred Upton of MI, a senior lawmaker, said border security is important, but questioned the need for $1.6 billion to be spent on Trump's border wall.

The budget would reduce pension benefits for federal workers by $63 billion by eliminating cost-of-living adjustments for most and by requiring employees to make larger contributions. Farm state lawmakers are already pushing back on proposals to curb agriculture assistance, for instance, and key Republicans are not interested in adding another round of cuts to Medicaid on top of those contained in the ongoing "Obamacare" repeal and replace effort.

Todd Harrison, a defence budget analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said the switch from grants to loans for military aid may mean that countries will not be able to afford USA military equipment, forcing them to go elsewhere for supplies. Come on. That doesn't add up, ' Roberts said. Student loan subsidies, home heating assistance and Great Lakes cleanup would be on the chopping block as the departments of education, environment, energy and State take hits. The president's budget would allocate $2.6 billion for planning, designing, and constructing the border wall and its surrounding securities, but Republican leaders estimate the wall could cost as much as $15 billion. Dick Durbin of IL.

USA military assistance to partners and allies reached $13.5 billion in 2015, or 28 percent of all United States foreign aid spending that year, according to the Congressional Research Service. Another $200 billion in federal infrastructure investments is promised to leverage another $800 billion in private investment.

The Congressional Budget Office now estimates, however, growth at about 1.9 percent and the Federal Reserve projects the economy will expand at a 1.8 percent annual rate.

But it could be the start of real bargaining that goes something like this: Trump doubles his offer (unlike Mulvaney, he doesn't care about budgetary red ink), uses some money from a tax on foreign income of US companies, gets Saudi Arabia and other countries to chip in for energy-related projects and some public-private deals.

Namely, it suggests that the economy is going to ramp up rather quickly in the next several years to 3 percent annual economic growth - that's about double the growth rate we saw last year - and that it would sustain that 3 percent growth rate for the better part of a decade.

  • Joanne Flowers