5 Key Takeaways From Trump's Budget

Among them: He proposes cuts to Medicare as Democrats move in the opposite direction
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2019 8:37 AM CDT
Trump's Budget Sets Up a Fight Over Medicare
Office of Management and Budget staff delivers President Trump's 2020 budget outline to the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill Monday, March 11, 2019.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Trump proposed a $4.75 trillion budget on Monday, the largest one in history. Here are five takeaways from early coverage:

  • First key point: As the New York Times notes, this presidential budget is typical in that it's more of a political document than something that will affect actual spending. After all, those levels are controlled by Congress, and Democrats control the House. But with the budget, Trump can lay down some priorities ahead of the 2020 election.
  • The wall: Trump wants $8.6 billion to cover 277 miles of border wall, notes the Hill. "Trump is upping the ante on the central theme of his 2016 campaign, betting it will keep his most loyal supporters behind him while providing arguments to throw at Democrats," writes Niv Elis. A big fight looms when Democrats provide no money for the wall in their own appropriations measures.

  • Medicare fight: Trump proposed $845 billion in Medicare cuts to curb "waste, fraud and abuse." As the Washington Post notes, his cuts come as Democrats are embracing an expansion of the program under the Medicare-for-all push. Trump is calling for cuts to Medicaid and Social Security as well, so expect this to be a huge campaign issue in pivotal, senior-heavy election states such as Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. As for those Medicare cuts, Sam Baker at Axios points out that President Obama proposed some of the same ones.
  • The military: Trump last year floated the idea of tightening the military budget, but he's since embraced the "bigger is better" approach, per the Bulwark. "Trump’s budget plan asks for an eye-popping $750 billion for national defense spending, an approximate $34 billion increase over 2019 levels and $50 billion more than Trump initially indicated he’d ask for last October."
  • Deficits: Trump's budget sees budget deficits rising to more than $1 trillion this year and remaining above the trillion-dollar mark the following three years, reports Bloomberg. "Growing budget deficits would run contrary to the narrative put forth by the Trump administration that a package of tax cuts that took force last year will pay for themselves through faster economic growth," writes Katia Dmitrieva. However, the budget also counts on rosy growth to lead to shrinking deficits from 2023 through 2029.
(More President Trump stories.)

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