Trump’s $4 trillion budget helps move deficit sharply higher
WASHINGTON – The Associated Press
U.S. President Donald Trump is proposing a $4 trillion-plus budget for next year that projects a $1 trillion or so federal deficit and - unlike the plan he released last year - never comes close to promising a balanced federal ledger even after 10 years.
And that’s before last week’s $300 billion budget pact is added this year and next, showering both the Pentagon and domestic agencies with big increases.
The spending spree, along with last year’s tax cuts, has the deficit moving sharply higher with Republicans in control of Washington. 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.
The 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 nondefense programs 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.”
In a preview of the 2019 budget on Feb. 11, the White House focused 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 U.S.-Mexico border and money for more beds for detained immigrants, is part of the budget.
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 program for the elderly, poor and disabled,
Trump’s allies have signaled there’s no interest in tackling hot-button health issues during an election year.