In his first five weeks in office, President Donald Trump has legislated from executive orders, but his budget proposal will need cooperation from Congress. That’s not something to which Washington is accustomed. Like many presidents before him, Trump’s budget will likely get dumbed down to make it more of a plausible law.
A New York Times report lists some of the Trump ideas that likely won’t make it through Congressional approval.
Proposals sent to Congress for the budget are nothing more than a nonbinding suggestion to members who actually set the budget. While Democrats are in the minority, they still hold key positions on committees that can block or edit Trump’s proposals.
1. The EPA and State Department won’t be gutted.
While Trump wants to make major cuts to the government to help fund his increase in military spending, Congress isn’t likely to approve it.
“Enacting appropriations law — as opposed to proposing nonbinding budget resolutions — will likely require Democratic votes,” Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) told The Times. She serves as the ranking member on the Appropriations Committee.
2. Trump intends to increase military spending.
While many members love it when the military builds things in their districts, Democrats have signaled that they intend to block any spending that isn’t matched by domestic spending increases. Trump’s proposal offers the opposite with cuts to domestic programs and inflating the Pentagon budget.
Democrats likely to oppose this idea might find allies among fiscal conservatives who have previously refused to increase military spending. Their claims have been that such spending is wasteful. Others, like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) want to see more money than Trump has proposed, however.
Democrats also face a possible backlash if the GOP can successfully argue that increased military spending is going to the troops and not defense contractors and the Pentagon. They did derail spending in 2016 negotiations but it’s unclear if they can do it this time. If Democrats give up on this budget point, The Times argues they will sacrifice some of their influence over the budget. Democrats could cause trouble if they agree to the increase but earmark it to go straight to the troops and not the military industrial complex.
3. Trump wants a full budget – he might just get another continuing resolution.
Over the years, Congress has been unable to pass a full budget, relying simply on continuing resolutions to kick the can down the road. As it stands now, the government will run out of money on Sept. 30, which would lead to a government shutdown if no budget or CR is passed. As it stands now, Trump’s budget isn’t likely to get enough support to pass, according to The Times.
4. Trump says “hands off” on Social Security and Medicare.
Trump’s campaign promise guaranteed he would never touch critical senior programs like Social Security and Medicare. That isn’t exactly what conservatives in Congress want to see.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has previously pitched substantial cuts to both programs to find the money to support the budget. If the programs stay in place and Republicans don’t want to add to the deficit it will mean more cuts to other agency budgets, even military spending.