The President, as he promised during his campaign, is going to spend less money outside the United States and more at home.
Donald Trump’s America translated this Thursday for the first time in cash dollars and showed a radical change in the priorities of the world’s first power.
The White House has launched a first budget proposal for 2018 that drives a multi-million dollar rearmament, as well as a reinforcement of internal security, at the cost of hard cuts in virtually all departments, especially environmental policy and foreign aid.
Politics has more to do with managing resources than with giving speeches and Trump’s thinking has just crystallized into revealing numbers.
The daily press briefing given by the United States Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, started with details about the budget draft that Trump’s team had just made public.
When a power such as the United States touches a dollar above or below its accounts, the echo is noticeable far beyond its borders.
When it comes to cutting up to a third of what it is earmarking for foreign aid, the quake hits the globe and ignites UN alarms, which last week warned that the world suffered the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II .
They asked the director of Trump’s Budget Office, Mick Mulvaney, and he responded: “The president said that he would spend less money on people outside and more at home,” he said at a press conference, stressing that funds would be cut.
“This is a strong, not a soft budget, and it is something intentional.This is the message we want to send to our allies and adversaries.This is a strong and powerful government,” Mulvaney added.
He also responded to the suppression of the federal funds for some of the programs to the most disadvantaged of the country. Mulvaney said that just because some programs sounded good it did not mean that they were good. Instead of giving federal funds to programs such as Meals on Wheels, the federal government will let states decide where they want to spend their money.
The White House presented a first draft of the federal budget for fiscal year 2018, beginning October 1, which served to confirm the nationalist and defense-oriented nature of the US president.
The proposal to be discussed by Congress addresses those items in which it has room for maneuver, that is, it does not alter social expenses protected by law, such as pensions and health coverage for the elderly and the poor, but it already outlines a long list of areas where cuts will indeed occur.
Overall, the budget shrinks by 1.2% over the latest budget designed by Barack Obama, despite the expansionary phase of the economy, and the pie is distributed in a very different way.
Defense achieves the largest increase in resources in the last decade – $52.3 billion, +10% – with the threat of terrorism from ISIS as an argument, and Homeland Security, which will get and increase of +2.8%.
“We have to begin to win wars again,” Trump said two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the budget reserved for the Environmental Protection Agency will get a deep cut of 31%, the State Department, which coordinates aid programs will have a cut of 29%, employment -20.7% and Transportation -12.7%.
While expenses for the nuclear arsenal is fattening up by $2 billion, federal funding for national public television and radio, which President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed in the 1960s, disappears altogether. As funding for development drops by 28%, the Army Veterans Fund increases by 6%.
“A budget that puts America first must make safety its number one priority, without security there can be no prosperity,” Trump said in reference to a budget project that was headed by the electoral slogans he used in campaign: America First.
A budget draft to make America Great Again. And virtually everything these pages cover, from military rearmament to a reganian reduction of the government, has come out of Trump’s mouth, including the famous border wall with Mexico, one of his stellar promises, which also appears in the new budget.
The announcement made on Thursday, however, is just the beginning. Trump launches this proposal to Congress and now opens a period of tough negotiations, despite the Republican majority in the House.
The battle will not be easy as Democrats have promised to give the president Hell as they call the budget “devastating” for the middle class.
Yes, the Mexican Wall will be funded
The first budget draft submitted to the US Congress for the 2018 fiscal year includes a request for $1.55 billion to begin funding the plan that will lead to the construction of a physical wall on the border between the United States and Mexico.
This is a first advance that is needed to start the design process and the planning of the pre-construction project.
The White House is asking lawmakers for an additional $2.6 billion for next year’s bills, which kicks off on October 1.
The initial cost thus amounts to $4.5 billion including other disbursements, out of a total projection of $20 billion.
The wall will take no more than two years to build. The idea, as White House budget director Mick Mulvaney explains, is to start project development as soon as possible.
These funds will allow, for example, to make the first pilot tests of different configurations in different locations of the border, from there try to identify the model that is more effective, safe and efficient from the point of view of the expense.
Trump sees the construction of the wall as a “critical investment”. In parallel, this first draft budget includes a request for additional funding of $1.2 billion so that the Department of Homeland Security can implement the decrees adopted on immigration and border control.
That money will be used to deploy 5,000 more border patrol agents and 10,000 immigration officers (ICE).
The overall budget is 1.15 trillion, 1% less than Barack Obama’s last.
The request for funds, as indicated in the letter Donald Trump sends to Capitol Republican leader Paul Ryan, explaining the priorities, seeks in this way to “increase the detention capacity” of illegal immigrants and ensures their expulsion from the US, which the president insists that is “urgent” to strengthen border protection activities.
The Department of Homeland Security is, along with the Pentagon, the big beneficiary in reordering Donald Trump’s budget priorities.
In its case, the increase in spending in fiscal year 2018 will be up almost 7%, to $44.1 billion.
These funds are taken from other government agencies, such as the State Department, where funds to foreign aid are cut by almost 30%.