Trump to seek another 8.6 billion USA dollars for border wall

The House Budget Committee displays copies of President Donald Trump's FY20 budget
The House Budget Committee displays copies of President Donald Trump's FY20 budget

13 March, 2019

President Donald Trump during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, on February 15, 2019. He said Trump added almost $2 trillion to deficits with the GOP's "tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, and now it appears his budget asks the American people to pay the price". That report projected muted economic gains in coming years, partly because of the fading impact of tax cuts and higher spending.

Trump re-opens plans for repealing "Obamacare", imposing work requirements for those receiving government aid and slashing the Environmental Protection Agency by about a third - all ideas Congress has rejected in the past. "The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again", said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY.

The administration is also asking Congress for $USD40 billion to fund the State Department's work on worldwide diplomacy and aid in fiscal 2020, a slight increase from last year's request but nowhere close to addressing deep cuts made in 2017.

A few weeks later, Congress agreed to fund $1.375 billion to finance 55 miles of barrier on the border in Texas.

Trump's budget would also significantly increase spending at the Pentagon, reinforcing the Republican Party's budgetary priorities as established since the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan began increasing the military budget while slashing social programs. To stay within the caps, it shifts a portion of the military spending, some $165 billion, to an overseas contingency fund, which some fiscal hawks will view as an accounting gimmick.

Vought acknowledge the tax cut had contributed to higher deficits, but he praised the corporate rate reduction central to "MAGAnomics" - the administration's economic plan coined from the president's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan.

According to the proposal, the cuts are to "voluntary and lower-priority activities", so that the agency could focus on finalizing replacements to Obama-era policies, improving the agency's toxic chemicals program, cleaning up contaminated sites, helping communities remove hazards at schools like lead and asbestos and providing more money to improve water infrastructure. He also would increase defense spending, immigration enforcement, veterans' health care, and opioid addiction programs, but slash pretty much everything else.

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"At a time when our country faces challenges about jobs for the future, this money would better be spent on rebuilding America, and on education and workforce development for jobs for the 21st Century", they continued. The administration predicts that the United States will return to budget balance in 2034.

Trump's budget "proposes that USDA responsibly and efficiently use taxpayer resources by making targeted reforms to duplicative programs and overly generous subsidy programs", according to the document.

In the meantime, the Trump administration will provide a federal tax credit of up to 50 billion dollars over 10 years for donations to scholarship programs for elementary and secondary school students seeking state-level public or private education.

While the president's budget is unlikely to be implemented, the document does carry some weight as a signal of Trump's desires, including money to expand barriers along the US border with Mexico.

The Republican president's US$4.7 trillion (S$6.38 trillion) budget was immediately panned by Capitol Hill Democrats, who blocked his push for a border wall during a standoff past year that led to a five-week partial shutdown of the federal government.

By adhering to strict budget caps, Trump is signaling a fight ahead.

"The whole issue of the wall, of border security, is of paramount importance", National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Sunday in an interview with Fox News. He also said Mexico would pay for it, though the Mexican government has repeatedly refused to finance the project. At least four members of Trump's party have said they plan - despite pressure from Republican leaders and the White House - to join Democrats in opposing the declaration.

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