President Donald Trump unveiled the first budget proposal of his presidency Thursday, one which would see a significant increase in defense spending while cutting domestic programs long targeted by conservatives.
The budget outline, totaling $1.15 trillion, covers only discretionary funding, leaving entitlement programs like Social Security, for future documents to be released later this spring.
Entitled “America First”, the budget proposal includes a roughly 10% boost to the US military, amounting to some $54 billion. If enacted, that would constitute the largest defense spending increase since Reagan’s massive 1981 military spending surge.
In addition, the budget plan allocates $4 billion for construction of the southern border wall, with $1.4 for immediate spending and another $2.6 billion this fall.
To offset these spending hikes, the America First budget dramatically cuts foreign aid, the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, and cuts or terminates certain domestic programs including the National Endowment for the Arts.
The State Department would lose 28% of its funding – more than $10 billion – under the Trump proposal, and cuts funding for Treasury International Programs by 35%, or $803 million.
Another department facing cuts, the EPA, would lose 31% of its present budget and some 3,000 employees.
The United Nations, which currently receives some $10 billion per annum from the US, would also see a significant cut in funding. While the America First budget proposal states only that the administration plans on reducing “funding to the UN and affiliated agencies” without specifying an amount, Foreign Policy reported this week that the White House has instructed the State Department to cut more than half of American funding for the UN.
Funding for the World Bank would also be cut by some $650 million over the next three years.
Other spending cuts include the termination of subsidies for airlines, funding for Amtrack, and a reduction in federal subsidies for the federal flood insurance program.
In a statement Thursday, Trump said his administration would “do more with less, and make the Government lean and accountable to the people.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted the spending plan, calling it “devastating to the middle class” and accusing the president of caving to special interests.
“Once again the Trump administration is showing its true colors: talk like a populist but govern like a special interests zealot.”