Trump to seek money for border wall, Space Force

WASHINGTON (AP) – United States (US) President Donald Trump will be making a significant request for border wall funds and seeking money to stand up Space Force as a new branch of the military in the White House budget being released next week, an administration official said.

For the first time, Trump plans to stick with the strict spending caps imposed years ago, even though lawmakers have largely avoided them with new budget deals.

The budget will propose serious cuts in safety net programmes, which are used by many Americans, and other non-defence accounts. That will likely trigger a showdown with Congress.

It’s unclear how much more money the president will seek to build the wall with Mexico. The request is coming on top of the USD8.1 billion Trump already has access to, which includes some USD3.6 billion he’s trying to shift from military accounts after declaring a national emergency. Trump invoked the emergency declaration last month after Congress denied his request for USD5.7 billion.

Instead, Congress approved nearly USD1.4 billion for the border barriers, far less than he wanted. The budget arrives as the president’s Republican allies in the Senate, uneasy over the emergency declaration, are poised next week to debate terminating it. Some view it as an overreach of executive power. Congress appears to have enough votes to reject Trump’s declaration, but not to overturn his expected veto of their action.

The official said Friday that the president’s plan on promises to balance the budget in 15 years.

Trump will seek USD750 billion for defence, a boost for the military, while cutting non-defence discretionary spending by five per cent below the cap, said the official, who was unauthorised to discuss the document ahead of its release and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Budgets are mainly seen as blueprints for White House priorities. But they are often panned on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers craft the appropriation bills that eventually fund the government, if the president signs them into law.

Trump’s budget for the 2020 fiscal year will increase requests for some agencies while reducing others to reflect those priorities. Reductions are proposed, for example, for the Environmental Protection Agency.