The President’s Budget – Some points worth watching

President Trump released his fiscal 2019 budget this afternoon. While lawmakers usually ignore much (if not all) of any president’s budget, it’s a useful guide to a White House’s priorities and how it wants taxpayer money spent — especially in an election year. Plus, it gives policy reporters lots to write about, and intrepid readers plenty to read about.

Here’s what’s worth knowing about Trump’s budget proposal:

  • The budget proposes $3 trillion in cuts meant to reduce deficits over ten years, mainly from the State Department, Environmental Protection Agency, welfare programs, Medicare, the Interior Department and a slew of federal safety net programs.
  • …but it doesn’t kill annual deficits. Republicans long insisted that any federal budget should balance within ten years. This budget doesn’t do that, a major blow for anyone expecting a unified Republican government to aggressively tackle the debt.

About that: White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that rising federal deficits could force interest rates to spike.

  • The budget asks for $18 billion for the border wall, and millions of dollars to hire more border patrol agencies and max out detention centers for undocumented immigrants.
  • The budget doesn’t match the caps passed in last week’s bipartisan deal. The proposal was written before the $300-billion budget deal to kill 2011 spending caps was enacted, but includes an addendum from the Office of Management and Budget. The White House wants Congress to fully match the new defense spending limit, but asks for $57 billion less than the discretionary domestic cap.
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