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President Trump Unveils $4.4 Trillion Spending Plan

President Trump Unveils $4.4 Trillion Spending Plan

President Trump on Monday unveiled a $4.4 trillion spending plan for 2019 that includes funding for the border wall and $1.5 trillion for infrastructure.

The budget is focused on “prioritizing the efficient use of taxpayer resources,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. 

Trump’s proposed budget includes steep cuts to foreign aid, health assistance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the State Department, and the Labor Department.

It seeks to do away with the federal student loan forgiveness program (more on that here), eliminate subsidized loans, and reduce the number of income-driven repayment plans from four to one. 

The proposal aims to slow Medicaid growth and save over $554 billion on Medicare spending. It slashes funding for food stamps and the welfare cash-assistance program and promotes the enactment of work requirements for safety net programs.

The budget “calls on Congress to transform Medicaid from an entitlement system, in which the federal government pays states a portion of the costs for everyone who qualifies, into a system of capped federal payments that frees states from federal eligibility and benefits rules,” reports The Washington Post. 

Like Trump’s first budget proposal, this year’s plan also seeks to repeal the Affordable Care Act and its Medicaid expansion (this is even less likely to happen than it was last year). 

The proposal seeks to privatize the International Space Station, which costs NASA $3 billion per year to operate, and asks states to share in the costs of funding Amtrak’s long-distance routes. The Administration is also pushing officials to sell Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport.

White House estimates suggest the proposal could add as much as $6.5 trillion to the national debt over the course of 8 years (Obama added $7.2 trillion). 

Beneficiaries of the proposal include: NASA, the Energy Department, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Defense, and Veterans’ Affairs. 

The proposal allocates $5 billion to address the opioid epidemic and another $5 billion for substance abuse and mental health. It transfers the ATF’s responsibilities for alcohol and tobacco from the Justice Department to the Treasury Department and boosts funding for the Commerce Department by $2.3 billion in order to help the Census Bureau prepare for the 2020 census. 

The proposal gives the DHS as whopping 12% increase in funding, with $782 million to hire more employees, $2.8 billion to increase immigration detention, and $1.6 billion for the construction of a wall along the Texas-Mexico border.

Trump’s proposal now heads to Congress, where “it is expected to get a cool reception even from key Republican lawmakers who already rejected many of the same cuts proposed in the president’s 2018 budget plan,” notes USA Today. 

Democrats are already whining about Trump’s proposed cuts, but it is important to remember that much of what Trump has proposed will never make it past lawmakers. Even the most hawkish of lawmakers are unlikely to agree with the full extent of the president’s proposed cuts to USAID and the State Department. 


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