President Trump on Monday laid out his fiscal 2021 spending plan, a $4.8 billion budget that would cut the social safety net and foreign aid while increasing spending for the military and veterans.
While the plan has little chance of moving through Congress unscathed, it lays out Trump’s vision for a possible second term, reflecting his spending priorities and objectives. Democrats signaled their opposition to the spending proposal Sunday, with House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., calling it “destructive and irrational.”
Congress is not expected to take any action on the budget until after the November election.
“We’re going to have a very good budget with a very powerful military budget, because we have no choice,” Trump told the nation’s governors at the White House, saying the spending plan would bring the deficit to near zero within 15 years.
The budget deficit, however, is expected to top $1 trillion this year and is projected to remain in that range for the next decade.
The budget projects growth in the gross domestic product in the 3% range. That compares to models elsewhere that have GDP growing by only 2% annually. It also would extend the 2017 tax cuts beyond their 2025 expiration.
The domestic spending cuts proposed in the plan nullify last summer’s deal with Congress that raised spending for both discretionary domestic spending and military spending. Trump’s plan provides for $590 billion in nondefense spending, $740.5 billion in defense spending and $3.5 trillion for Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs.
The budget includes a 12% increase for NASA and $2 billion in new funding for his border wall – less than half the amount sought last year — but would cut funding for the Commerce Department by 37%, the Environmental Protection Agency by 26% the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 15%, the Department of Health and Human Services by 9%, and the Department of Education by 8%.
By contrast, Trump’s Democratic rivals are calling for huge increases in spending in such areas as education and healthcare.
The budget proposal seeks to turn Medicare into a block grant program, adds work requirements to medical and anti-poverty programs and makes other changes to reduce Medicaid and Medicare costs. Medicaid and other health and welfare programs would take a $700 billion hit.
“Everyone knows the latest Trump budget is dead on arrival in Congress. It’s merely a political stunt to gratify extremists in his party,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said the Trump budget plan is more like a “list of suggestions. Bipartisan consensus will be necessary to bring our debt and deficits under control.”