President Donald Trump’s $4.4 trillion 2019 budget proposal would deeply cut domestic programs, sharply increase military spending—and add at least $7 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.
Sure, it’s likely to be rewritten by legislators, but like all budgets, it offers a look into the president’s priorities. So what’s in it? Here are eight takeaways:
It increases the national debt
The $7.1 trillion added to the deficit over the next decade by this budget proposal assumes an ambitious rate of growth of at least 3 percent each year. If the economy is less strong before 2029, that number could get a lot higher. One estimate shows that the national debt could grow to $30 trillion in a decade if the plan is enacted as is.
The 2019 budget is about $300 billion larger than its predecessor and comes on top of a $1.5 trillion tax cut that will decrease government revenue.
The Republican leadership regularly criticized the Obama administration for adding to the national debt but has largely remained silent while the current administration does the same—a move Senator Rand Paul calls hypocritical.
“The people who voted for tax cuts and spending increases—I think there is some hypocrisy there, and it shows they’re not serious about the debt,” he said on CBS News’s Face the Nation on Sunday.
Trump would cut $1.7 trillion to Medicare and other entitlements
The Trump budget proposes cutting $266 billion from the Medicare program over the next decade, despite campaign promises to keep the program as is.
The plan would also cut $214 billion from food stamps over the next decade by eliminating cash payments in favor of “American grown food” packages given directly to recipients. Instead of using their own discretion at food markets, the White House proposes that recipients receive parcels that “include items such as shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit, vegetables, and meat, poultry or fish.”
The budget claims it will save money by cutting back on alleged welfare fraud. “Millions of Americans are in a tragic state of dependency on a welfare system that does not reward work and, in many cases, pays people not to work,” the president’s budget message claims, without providing evidence. “These programs, expanded during the previous administration, must now be reformed.”
SNAP, America’s food stamp program, currently gives about 42 million Americans an average of $125.79 per month. That money can be redeemed for food items at a grocery store.
$716 billion will go to national security
Under Trump’s plan, the Pentagon would receive a generous increase in funding to focus on competing with military powers like Russia and China. The budget calls for 25,900 new jobs, 10 new naval ships and three new combat planes in 2019. It would also increase spending on missile defense to fight nuclear threats from North Korea.
It would maintain this quirk: The U.S. spends more on the military than the next eight largest spending nations combined.
Amtrak funding is cut in half
Trump’s budget would cut federal contributions to the national train service from $1.495 billion to $738 million in one year.
The budget follows comments Trump has made previously about Amtrak, America’s troubled passenger rail system, which he believes should focus only on profitable, crowded routes such as the Northeast Corridor. But the argument has a chicken-and-egg quality: The U.S. invests a much smaller amount in passenger rail than many countries in Europe and Asia do. Plus, the Northeast Corridor currently has a repair backlog of $28 billion.
The EPA gets slashed
Trump would cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget by about 34 percent, or $2.8 billion. The budget would hand some regulatory duties to state officials and stresses voluntary “compliance assistance,” programs that would specifically assist the oil and chemical industries.
The budget would end EPA programs such as the Indoor Air and Radon Programs, the Marine Pollution and National Estuary Programs, the Environmental Education Program and the Beaches Program, which it calls “lower priority.” It also mentioned climate change a few times, but only in passages that proposed cuts, such as the elimination of the Climate Change Research and Partnership Program.
The Opioid epidemic gets priority
The White House budget dedicates nearly $17 billion to combat the opioid crisis, which killed more than 42,000 Americans in 2016.
The money would be split between programs that combat and treat opioid abuse and addiction and programs that help detain drug traffickers.
An additional $100 million would go toward a public-private partnership with pharmaceutical companies to develop prevention and treatments for addiction and overdose reversal.
He’s building the wall
The budget proposes an additional $25 billion for border security over two years, of which $18 billion would go toward a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Additional spending will fund more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, border patrol and more beds for detained immigrants.
“The budget reﬂects my administration’s serious and ongoing commitment to fully secure our border, take the ﬁght to criminal gangs like MS-13, and make our immigration system work for Americans,” Trump wrote.
It could hurt the health and safety of Americans
The proposal slashes the budget of nearly every federal oversight agency. The Department of Agriculture is cut by 16 percent, the Department of Education by 10.5 percent, the Department of Health and Human Services by 21 percent, the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 18.3 percent, the Department of the Interior by 16 percent, the Department of Labor by 21 percent and the Department of Transportation by 19 percent, in addition to the EPA cut.
Such cuts mean less money to guarantee food is uncontaminated, workers are safe and the environments we live in are inhabitable.
Despite the overall cut to the Department of Labor, Trump’s budget calls for an increase to monitor labor union finances and elections by “supporting more audits and investigations to uncover ﬂawed ofﬁcer elections, fraud, and embezzlement”—a move that would shift one priority of the department from workers to management.