WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump will deliver his latest budget proposal to Congress on Monday, a $4.89 trillion package that calls for increases to military spending and cuts to domestic programs.
The spending plan – the final one of Trump’s first term in office – proposes military spending of $740.5 billion, a 0.3% increase, for a fiscal year that begins in October. Non-defense programs would be cut by 5%, to $590 billion.
The proposal also calls for $4.6 trillion in deficit reduction, $4.4 trillion in spending reductions and a 21% cut to foreign aid, officials said Sunday. The budget would balance in 15 years, said officials who are familiar with the proposed spending plan but aren’t authorized to discuss it publicly.
Trump’s budget has no chance of winning approval in Congress – Democrats control the U.S. House – but it does reflect his priorities as he pursues re-election in November.
Last month, Trump opened the door to overhauling entitlement programs such as Medicare, saying during a television appearance while in Davos, Switzerland, that “tremendous growth” in the economy would make it easier to restructure such programs.
Democrats interpreted those remarks to mean that more cuts could be coming to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and accused Trump of breaking a campaign pledge not to slash those safety net programs.
But Trump said on Saturday that those programs would be spared in his new budget.
“We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget,” he wrote on Twitter. “Only the Democrats will destroy them by destroying our Country’s greatest ever Economy!”
The Wall Street Journal reported that the budget will seek $4.4 trillion in savings over a decade. That would include $2 trillion in savings from entitlements, including $130 billion from changes to Medicare prescription drug pricing.
Trump’s proposal also requests $2 billion in new funding for construction of a wall along the U.S.’s southern border with Mexico, one of Trump’s signature promises from his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump sought $5 billion in border wall funding last year, triggering a record-setting, 35-day government shutdown last winter after congressional Democrats refused to approve the money.
In addition, Trump will propose spending billions on health care, infrastructure, business loans and internet access in rural America, a key part of his constituency as he seeks re-election in November.
Among the programs is $25 billion for a new “Revitalizing Rural America” grant program to help areas with broadband transportation, water and road and bridge projects; $614 million in funding for water and wastewater grants and loans; and $690 million in loans to finance broadband infrastructure deployment of rural telecommunication facilities.
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Trump’s budget plan also will emphasize items like border security, national defense, job training and economic development programs to enhance what the Trump administration calls “American Competitiveness.”
Deficit hawks will be watching to see how much the proposed budget adds to the federal debt, which has increased by $2.8 trillion since Trump took office and is projected to soar by $4.7 trillion through the end of the decade because of spending increases and tax cuts.
As details of the budget started to become public, public interest groups started to complain about the impact of cuts on various programs.
Admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sent a letter to congressional leaders on Friday warning that cuts to international affairs programs are “out of touch with the reality around the world.”
“This is a moment when more investment in diplomacy and development is needed, not less,” Mullen wrote said.
Bobby Kogan, chief mathematician for the Senate Budget Committee, wrote on Twitter that that Trump’s proposed budget is “enormously cruel.”
Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., chairman of the House Budget Committee, said based on initial reports “this destructive and irrational president is giving us a destructive and irrational budget.”
“Just six short months ago, the president signed a bipartisan two-year budget deal into law but now, the president is apparently going back on his word,” Yarmuth said in a statement. “Instead, he is proposing deep cuts to critical programs that help American families and protect our economic and national security. Furthermore, the budget reportedly includes destructive changes to Medicaid, SNAP, Social Security, and other assistance programs that help Americans make ends meet – all while extending his tax cuts for millionaires and wealthy corporations.”
“Congress will stand firm against this president’s broken promises and his disregard for the human cost of his destructive policies,” he said.
David Jackson and Michael Collins cover the White House. Reach Jackson on Twitter @djusatoday and Collins @mcollinsNEWS.