The 2018 “America First” Budget Blueprint was released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), indicating in no uncertain terms the Trump administration’s intent to bolster the military and make significant cuts across the federal government.
Stressing the promises he made to the American people to place national security and public safety first, President Trump makes clear up front that he intends to ‘lean out’ the federal government by cutting funding from other federal programs and agencies.
“The defense and public safety spending increases in this Budget Blueprint are offset and paid for by finding greater savings and efficiencies across the Federal Government. Our Budget Blueprint insists on $54 billion in reductions in non-Defense programs. We are going to do more with less, and make the Government lean and accountable to the people.” President Trump’s statement said.
The Pentagon looks to gain an increase of $54 billion, which it plans to use mostly on revitalization efforts to increase readiness with aging equipment like tanks, ships, and aircraft.
Mick Mulvaney, who authored the budget report as the director of OMB, said that the budget represents an effort to prioritize national security, and that “our $20 trillion national debt is a crisis, not just for the Nation, but for every citizen. Each American’s share of this debt is more than $60,000 and growing.”
However, the budget blueprint only deals with discretionary spending, which accounts for less than a third of the actual federal budget. Programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are left out entirely of this first proposal.
Democrats and a few Republicans have voiced strong opposition to the proposed budget, citing the cuts to agencies like the State Department. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said that “If enacted this budget would only make the world more dangerous for America and Americans, and make it harder to safeguard our interests, promote our values and further expand our prosperity.”
The budget has a long way to go before it is signed into law by the President. Senator John McCain (R-Az.) said “It is clear that this budget proposed today cannot pass the Senate,” and Senator Lindsey Graham has referred to the budget as “dead on arrival.” Other Republicans like Marco Rubio are primarily concerned with cuts to the State Department.
“I do not support the proposed 28 percent cut to our international affairs budget and diplomatic efforts led by the State Department. These programs are integral to our national security, and cuts at these levels undermine America’s ability to keep our citizens safe,” Rubio said in a statement.
While the President has the ability to make recommendations for federal spending, ultimately it is the Congress who will hash out the details for him to eventually sign into law. At this point, the “budget blueprint” mainly serves to showcase the President’s philosophy on fiscal matters and the priorities his administration will focus the government’s attention towards.
Featured image courtesy of Reuters