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VOL. 42 | NO. 6 | Friday, February 9, 2018
5 things to know about Trump's $4.4 trillion budget
The Associated Press
President Donald Trump has sent Congress a proposal to spend $4.4 trillion in the 2019 budget year, which begins in October. Five things to know about his budget proposal:
BUDGET DEAL IMPACT
Many presidential budgets are labeled "dead on arrival" because Congress will end up rejecting the spending and tax proposals put forward by the administration. But this budget was in the unusual position of being more irrelevant than usual because Congress just last week passed a measure to boost the spending limits for defense and domestic programs that the administration had followed in writing this budget.
The administration's new budget showed a dramatic increase in deficits over the 10-year budget window, mainly a reflection of the impact of the $1.5 trillion tax cut approved in December. While Trump's first budget, issued last May, projected that it could wipe out the annual red ink by 2027, the new 10-year budget shows unending deficits. And this total of red ink does not take into account the higher spending that will occur under last week's budget deal.
The budget calls for about $500 billion in cuts from projected Medicare spending over the next decade, primarily by trimming payments to hospitals and rehabilitation centers. These cuts were not in the budget Trump proposed last year, and Democrats immediately accused the president of breaking a campaign promise he made in 2016 not to touch Medicare or Social Security.
The president wants to use $200 billion in federal money over the next decade to support $1.5 trillion in new spending to rebuild the nation's crumbling infrastructure. The administration released a 55-page "legislative outline" for lawmakers who will write the bills needed to implement the proposal. With the plan heavily dependent on state and local dollars, Democrats warned it would raise tolls on commuters, sell off government-owned infrastructure to Wall Street and eliminate critical environmental protections.
The budget proposes pulling NASA out of the International Space Station by 2025 with private businesses running the space station instead. The government would set aside $150 million to encourage commercial development. The plan immediately drew opposition. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who has flown in space, said "turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space" makes no sense.