President Trump released his $1.15 trillion budget proposal on Thursday, and it seems to be mostly in line with what had been widely expected by Beltway reporters. The proposal, which is likely to meet with significant resistance both within and outside the Republican Party, calls for deep cuts to several federal agencies and sharp increases in military and national security spending.
“We are going to do more with less, and make the Government lean and accountable to the people,” Trump said in a statement. “It is time to prioritize the security and well-being of Americans, and to ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share.”
The budget resembles nothing so much as President Ronald Reagan’s efforts to boost the size and scope of the U.S. military in the 1980s. Trump is asking for another $54 billion to flow into the Pentagon’s budget, and he’s vowing to use that money to win the war against ISIS and prepare the military branches for any conflicts they may face in the future.
Trump is also asking Congress to allocate $1.4 billion in funding for the beginning of construction on The Wall, another area where he may run into resistance within both parties. Moderate Republicans would just as soon follow the Obama course on illegal immigration, and Tea Party conservatives are going to have an issue with the projected cost of the border wall. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats see the wall as one of Trump’s most potent symbols, and they are counting on their base to support them in their opposition – even if it results in a government shutdown.
Moderate Republicans, however, know they would probably not have control of the Senate were it not for Donald Trump, and conservatives may be mollified by the cuts the president is proposing in other areas. The White House budget asks for stark reductions in spending for the EPA, it recommends cutting the National Endowment for the Arts, and it calls for an end to public broadcasting. All told, Trump is asking for cuts to 12 Cabinet-level agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Labor, and State.
White House budget proposals rarely bear much resemblance to what finally comes back around to the president’s desk, but this one shows that President Trump is serious about streamlining the federal government and boosting the size of the military. Republicans may not quite agree with the blueprint, but they should think long and hard before tossing the whole thing in the trash. After all, these are the very tenets they believe in.
Or at least, that’s what they’ve been telling us for thirty years.