Trump proposes a record $4.75 trillion budget

Published: March 12, 2019 16:38:47 | Updated: March 13, 2019 20:15:22

President Donald Trump sent Congress on Monday a record $4.75 trillion budget plan that calls for increased military spending and sharp cuts to domestic programmes like education and environmental protection for the 2020 fiscal year.

Trump’s budget, the largest in federal history, includes a nearly 5 per cent increase in military spending — which is more than the Pentagon had asked for — and an additional $8.6 billion for construction of a wall along the border with Mexico, reports bdnews24.com quoting the New York Times.

It also contains what White House officials called a total of $1.9 trillion in cost savings from mandatory safety-net programs, like Medicaid and Medicare, the federal health care programs for the elderly and the poor.

The budget is unlikely to have much effect on actual spending levels, which are controlled by Congress. Democratic leaders in both the House and the Senate pronounced the budget dead on arrival Sunday, and Trump’s budgets largely failed to gain traction in previous years, when fellow Republicans controlled both chambers.

But the blueprint is a declaration of Trump’s re-election campaign.

The president’s budget quickly antagonised Democrats while making clear the contours of how he plans to run for re-election. It is replete with aggressively optimistic economic assumptions and appeals to his core constituents, and it envisions deep cuts to programs that Democrats hold dear. Yet it projects trillion-dollar deficits for the next four years and does not balance the budget for 15 years.

Sen Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, called the proposal “a gut punch to the American middle class.”

The budget would curb the growth of Medicare and Medicaid, two programmes Trump had previously pledged to leave intact. And it proposes shaving $818 billion from projected spending on Medicare over 10 years and cutting nearly $1.5 trillion from projected spending on Medicaid.

A few domestic spending programmes would see increases, if Trump’s budget were to become law. Those include efforts to reduce opioid addiction, as well as a 10 per cent increase in health care spending for veterans.

Trump will also propose a new voucher programme for education, $200 billion in infrastructure spending and efforts to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.

The budget would not balance for 15 years.

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