WASHINGTON (AP) – In a twist on Washington’s truism about presidential budgets being DOA, President Donald Trump’s 2019 fiscal plan due yesterday was dead even before arrival.
The original plan was for Trump’s new budget to slash domestic agencies even further than last year’s proposal, but instead it will land in Congress three days after he signed a two-year spending agreement that wholly rewrites both last year’s budget and the one to released yesterday.
In a preview of the 2019 budget, the White House on Sunday focussed on Trump’s $1.5 trillion plan for the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. He also will ask for a $13 billion increase over two years for opioid prevention, treatment and long-term recovery. A request of $23 billion for border security, including $18 billion for a wall along the US-Mexico border and money for more detention beds for detained immigrants, is part of the budget, too.
Trump’s latest submission was completed before the budget pact delivered the nearly $300 billion increase above prior “caps” on spending. The $4 trillion-plus 2019 budget was originally designed to double down on last year’s proposals to slash foreign aid, the Environmental Protection Agency, home heating assistance and other nondefence programmes funded by Congress each year.
“A lot of presidents’ budgets are ignored. But I would expect this one to be completely irrelevant and totally ignored,” said Jason Furman, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama. “In fact, Congress passed a law week that basically undid the budget before it was even submitted.”
Trump would again spare Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare as he promised during the 2016 campaign. And while his plan would reprise last year’s attempt to scuttle the “Obamacare” health law and sharply cut back the Medicaid programme for the elderly, poor and disabled, Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill have signaled there’s no interest in tackling hot-button health issues during an election year.
Instead, the new budget deal and last year’s tax cuts herald the return of trillion dollar-plus deficits.
Last year, Trump’s budget predicted a $526 billion budget deficit for the 2019 fiscal year starting October 1; instead, it’s set to exceed $1 trillion once the cost of the new spending pact and the tax cuts are added to Congressional Budget Office projections.
Mick Mulvaney, the former tea party congressman who runs the White House budget office, said Sunday that Trump’s new budget, if implemented, would tame the deficit over time, though unlike last year’s submission, it wouldn’t promise to balance the federal ledger eventually.
“The budget does bend the trajectory down, it does move us back towards balance. It does get us away from trillion-dollar deficits,” Mulvaney said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ ‘’Just because this deal was signed does not mean the future is written in stone. We do have a chance still to change the trajectory. And that is what the budget will show tomorrow.”