Yesterday, President Donald Trump released the U.S. government’s new budget. His proposal shows the president is eager to confront Congress about boosting defense spending while cutting nondefense spending. The 2020 budget seems to be setting the stage for yet another money battle in Congress.
Russ Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, confirms that the $8.6 billion border request is part of Trump’s spending blueprint for the 2020 budget year, which begins October 1. Those monies would pay for hundreds of miles of new barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The proposed budget will also increase funding to increase the “manpower” of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and Customs and Border Patrol at a time when many Democrats are calling for cuts—or even the elimination—of those areas.
Vought says Trump’s document tries “reining in reckless Washington spending” and shows “we can return to fiscal sanity.” But the Democratic chairman of the House Budget Committee, Representative John Yarmuth, calls some of the budget’s changes “dangerous.”
In addition to wall funding, the budget lists more than $80 billion for veterans’ services, including funds for rehabilitation and employment assistance. Also in the budget are resources to fight opioid abuse (for more information on opioids, read “Pill-Busting Powder”) and plans to shift some federal student loan costs to colleges and universities.
The border wall, though, remains central to the president, even though Congress has resisted giving him more money for it.
“Congress refused to fund his wall and [President Trump] was forced to admit defeat. . . . The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again,” say House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. They say the money “would be better spent on rebuilding America.”
Congressional fighting can be troubling and/or tiresome. But how does it highlight the advantages of democracy and free speech?
(President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget outline arrives on Capitol Hill at the House Budget Committee, in Washington, DC, on March 11, 2019. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)