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Trump Pushes Wall Budget Fight at the Expense of Domestic Programs
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=29276"><span class="small">Ryan Koronowski, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Monday, 11 March 2019 13:54

Koronowski writes: "Insist on more border wall and defense funding. Scapegoat already-struggling domestic programs. Then gear up for a political fight with House Democrats. That's the strategy in year three of President Donald Trump's first term."

The U.S./Mexico border. (photo: Jim Watson/Getty Images)
The U.S./Mexico border. (photo: Jim Watson/Getty Images)


Trump Pushes Wall Budget Fight at the Expense of Domestic Programs

By Ryan Koronowski, ThinkProgress

11 March 19


The president just declared a national emergency that took defense money to try to build the wall.

nsist on more border wall and defense funding. Scapegoat already-struggling domestic programs. Then gear up for a political fight with House Democrats.

That’s the strategy in year three of President Donald Trump’s first term. His administration’s budget proposal — set for release Monday — is doubling down on a budget battle over border wall money, while cutting domestic programs in favor of military spending.

This comes a month after the longest government shutdown in history over the same border wall fight Trump has waged with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

On Sunday, Reuters reported that President Trump will ask Congress for $8.6 billion in border wall construction. This is 6 percent larger than the amount of funding the president has put into play by invoking his emergency declaration following the government shutdown earlier this year.

This means that the Trump White House appears likely to continue its past strategy of picking fights with both Republican and Democratic congresses over wall funding.

Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked White House top economic adviser Larry Kudlow if the $8.6 billion request for more wall funding meant that there would be another budget fight over the wall. Kudlow’s reply? “Well, I suppose there will be.”

Some of the Defense Department’s budget increase would go to replacing money the White House took in declaring the national emergency for wall construction — yet another attempt on the part of the administration to get American taxpayers to fund the wall, separate from the additional $8.6 billion budget request.

Trump has claimed that the wall would cost $15 billion and would pay for itself, while other estimates peg the cost at closer to $70 billion.

Wallace pressed Kudlow on why Trump wanted to cut domestic spending on environmental, anti-poverty, and transportation programs, while keeping the tax cuts and boosting defense and border wall spending. Kudlow revealed that the budget would seek to cut domestic spending 5 percent, irrespective of individual program needs.

“If you want to deal with budget deficits, you’ve got rapid growth, which means keep the tax cuts in place, we believe the 3 percent growth rate of 2018 will continue in 2019 and beyond 2020 and so forth,” Kudlow said.

“I think the other element is always to limit spending, and the president is proposing a roughly 5 percent across the board in domestic spending accounts. It will be a tough budget. We’re going to do our own caps this year.”

The Trump budget reportedly does not project a balanced budget for at least 15 years, instead of the 10 years past Republican-authored budgets have envisioned. The only rationale given is a projection for continued high growth, a scenario unlikely to be sustainable for such a period of time.

The White House budget proposal is a yearly exercise in messaging and priority-setting, even when the president’s party controls Congress.

The last two years’ final budgets have not resembled the Trump administration’s proposals, despite Republican control of the House and the Senate. The budget process originates in the House, and this year Democratic lawmakers will draft the budget. Once passed, it goes to the Republican-controlled Senate, and then onto the president to sign.

But this year might be even more acrimonious, as Trump looks to his 2020 re-election battle.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that White House officials planned to actually fight for their previously-ignored proposed domestic spending cuts now that Democrats are in charge of the House. This political effort would seek to cut anti-poverty programs and impose stricter work requirements on housing, health care, and food support initiatives.

But it’s not just Democrats who would look to block Trump’s proposed budget. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), a conservative budget hawk, dismissed the idea, according to The Post.

“It’s hard to maintain a straight face with that kind of proposal,” he said.

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+3 # DongiC 2019-03-11 18:45
Trump wants a fight over his wall? He is going to see an epochal battle between the Congress and the White House. The country is starting to realize just what kind of demented leader America has for the troubled days ahead. Global warming worsening and infrastructure in need of ever more repair. With Trump's hand on the throttle, get ready for a gigantic train wreck.
 
 
+1 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-03-12 12:38
This has been going on since Ronald Reagan was President, 1980. When will the American public wake up.
Greed never sleeps. Ignorance never wakes up.