As a part of the White House’s quickly approaching budget proposal for the next fiscal year, President Trump will formally ask for a total of $8.6 billion for the new border wall. Despite the ever-growing problem at the southern border, Trump is facing almost certain rejection by Congress. The budget is also expected to allow for money to get the Space Force up and running as a branch of the military as well as put a sharp curb on the amount of money that’s spent on domestic safety-net programs. The proposal outline also includes a total of $2.7 trillion in nondefense spending cuts. The administration believes that the new proposals will have the federal government back on track by 2034.
“In the last two years, President Trump and this Administration have prioritized reining in reckless Washington spending. The Budget that we have presented to Congress and the American people … embodies fiscal responsibility, and takes aim at Washington’s waste, fraud, and abuse. Our national debt nearly doubled under the previous Administration and now stands at more than $22 trillion. This Budget shows that we can return to fiscal sanity without halting our economic resurgence while continuing to invest in critical priorities,” said the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russ Vought.
President Trump will attempt to secure $5 billion from Congress as well as $3.6 billion from the military construction budget. Trump’s request comes in addition to the $8.1 billion that he already has access to, which includes the money that he’s been trying to shift from military accounts after he declared the state of emergency last month when Congress denied his $5.7 billion request. According to Fox News, with the $8.1 billion available for wall funding in the fiscal 2019 budget, and the 112 miles of wall that’s already been completed in the past two years, the Trump administration has enough money to build more than half of the 722 miles needed along the southern border.
If Congress approves the $8.6 billion that Trump is asking for, the administration could most certainly complete the 722 miles of border that they’re looking for. According to White House officials, the number of migrant families coming across the border has hit an 11-year high, which means that protecting the southern border is more important than ever. The commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol, Kevin K. McAleenan, told reporters last week that “The system is well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point.”
In a joint statement written by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the authors said: “President Trump hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shut down the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall, which he promised would be paid for by Mexico. Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson. At a time when our country faces challenges about jobs for the future, this money would better be spent on rebuilding America, and on education and workforce development for jobs for the 21st century,” they concluded. According to New York Rep. Democrat Nita. M Lowey, Trump’s request for money was “not even worth the paper it’s written on.”
At the same time as the $8.6 billion request was made, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow explained that President Trump is looking for a 5% cut “across the board” for all domestic spending. “It will be a tough budget. We’re going to do our own caps this year and I think it’s long overdue,” said Kudlow. When asked whether or not there would be some pushback in Congress, Kudlow said: “I suppose there will be. I would just say that the whole issue of the wall, of border security, is of paramount importance. We have a crisis down there. I think the president has made that case very effectively.”
Trump’s administration hasn’t done the greatest job at sticking to the strict spending caps that were imposed years ago, and certain lawmakers have avoided many of the caps with new budget deals, as well. The new budget will propose hefty cuts in safety net programs, which are mainly used by Americans and other non-defense accounts. There’s a good chance that we’re going to see a showdown in Congress very soon. Many of the president’s Republican allies are a bit uncomfortable with the emergency declaration, believing that it’s an overreach of executive power, and are planning to meet next week to debate terminating it. Apparently, Congress has enough votes to reject the declaration, but not enough to overturn the veto that Trump’s expected to make.
President Trump is looking for $750 billion for defense, which is quite the boost for the military, but he’s planning on cutting non-defense discretionary spending by 5% below the cap. Budgets are typically viewed as “blueprints” by the White House, but they are often closely examined by Capitol Hill, where the lawmakers craft them into the bills that fund the government, as long as the president signs them. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has described the president’s budget as a “recommendation” in the past. For example, the White House asked for $25 billion last year to construct the southern border wall, which most certainly did not happen.
The budget that Trump is requesting for the 2020 fiscal year will increase the requests for certain agencies, while at the same time, reduce others to reflect the country’s priorities. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency will most certainly feel the weight of the reductions. According to an anonymous official source, Congress has spent too much time ignoring the president’s spending cuts, and because of it, the budget is full of wasteful spending. The official also stated that the administration is committed to regaining balance in the budget. The budget cuts that the White House are requesting would affect the discretionary spending, as well as some of the mandatory safety net programs. Republicans are typically for reducing government spending, but Congress has a difficult time passing bills that drastically cut funding to the safety net programs that many Americans depend on.
Even though the budget suggests that it will balance itself out in the future, it’s expected that the balance will rely heavily on continued economic growth from Trump’s 2017 tax cut laws, but there’s really no guarantee that that would actually cover the lost tax revenues. The president is looking for some resistance from Congress by proposing spending levels that don’t balance themselves out in the future. It has been routinely agreed upon by lawmakers of both parties to raise spending caps established by previous deals to fund the government, but Trump has consistently tried to resist those deals. In fact, he’s threatened to veto deals in the past to prevent a government shutdown, but that didn’t stop him from shutting down the government at the end of 2018.