Trump Budget Going Nowhere on Capitol Hill

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump's fiscal year 2020 budget calls for huge reductions in Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department spending in order to pay for wall construction on the U.S. -Mexico border.

If all the administration's recommendations were carried out, deficits would gradually decline from $1.1 trillion in fiscal 2020 to $202 billion in fiscal 2029. That figure is more than six times what Congress gave Trump for border projects in each of the past two fiscal years, and 6 percent more than he has corralled by invoking emergency powers this year after he failed to get the money he wanted. "This is threatened by our unsustainable national debt, which has doubled under the previous administration and now stands at more than $22 trillion".

Even with his own projections, Trump's budget would not come into balance for a decade and a half, rather than the traditional hope of balancing in 10.

"[The budget] builds upon incredible success and keeps his promises to the American people", Sanders said.

That's according to the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russ Vought, who says the budget will be released Monday. "It's a question of, will Congress allow us to finish the job", another administration official said.

Some fiscal watchdogs, though, panned the effort as more piling on of debt by Trump with no course correction in sight.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said Trump "relies on far too many accounting gimmicks and fantasy assumptions and puts forward far too few actual solutions". She warned the debt load will lead to slower income growth and stalled opportunities for Americans.

For Trump, border wall and immigration issues are part of his larger political identity ever since his wall campaign started in 2015. "Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government", Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. In a budget that will likely face much opposition from House Democrats, Trump apparently plans to use infrastructure spending as negotiating leverage.

"Dangerous", not serious, a "sham", they said.

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With Democrats in charge of the House, Trump's grand plan has no chance of being enacted.

The plan sticks to budget caps that both parties have routinely broken in recent years.

Trump's budget would cut the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, an office within the Department of Energy, from $2.3 billion to about $700 million - a 70 percent reduction.

Trump is returning to old battles while refraining from unveiling many new initiatives. The $2.7 trillion in proposed domestic spending cuts over the next decade is higher than any administration in history.

"Make no mistake about it: Trump's budget is a massive transfer of wealth from working class families to the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in America". The president has resisted big, bipartisan budget deals that break the caps - threatening to veto one a year ago - but Congress will need to find agreement on spending levels to avoid another federal shutdown in the fall. If it passes, Trump is expected to veto the measure, and send it back to Congress where it does not appear to have sufficient backing to override a veto.

Trump would also renew his fight over a border wall and up the ante by requesting $8.6 billion in fiscal 2020, a 50 percent increase from the $5.7 billion he sought from Congress this year.

To circumvent Congress, Trump declared a national emergency at the border last month as a way to access funding.

A resolution opposing the emergency declaration quickly passed in the House, and the Republican-controlled Senate is poised to vote on that resolution this week.

Federal air traffic controller union members protest the partial government shutdown in a rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 10, 2019.

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