White House expected to address Trump’s budget proposal

Trump to seek another US$8.6b for border wall

Trump Plan Postpones Balanced Budget Despite Deep Spending Cuts

Reuters first reported the administration's planned request, citing officials familiar with the matter.

Trump called for defense spending to rise by 4 percent to $750 billion, using the emergency Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account - derided by conservatives as a slush fund - to skirt spending caps set out in a 2011 fiscal restraint law.

Larry Kudlow, the White House chief economic adviser, brushed aside budget deficit concerns on Sunday, arguing that markets are not overwhelmingly anxious about federal spending. I think the president has made that case effectively. The Democratic-led House already did so, and Trump's Republican allies in the Senate, uneasy over his move, are expected to follow suit.

Representative Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said the request was "not even worth the paper it's written on". "The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again", the statement continued.

The House voted February 26 to block the emergency declaration, and enough Republicans have said they'll also vote against it for it to pass in the Senate. The NIH enjoys wide bipartisan support and appropriators on Capitol Hill have increased its budget by roughly $9 billion, to $39 billion, in the past five years.

Budget documents largely serve as starting points for negotiations and Trump's proposal sets up another possible confrontation with Congress.

It asks for $8.6 billion to build a wall on the border with Mexico. Eventually, Trump relented and reopened the government. But fresh off the longest government shutdown in history - and delayed by a month because of it - Trump's 2020 budget shows he is eager to confront Congress again.

As a result, the White House was forced to come up with more creative solutions to fund the border wall. Many lawmakers view the declaration as an overreach of executive power. Republicans control the Senate. Without an increase in the limit, the US government would risk a default, which would shock the world economy.

That would be on top of the US$6.7 billion in wall funding that Mr Trump has ordered redirected from other government programs under a national emergency he declared last month.

White House officials say there are already 196km of barriers that have been completed or are under construction.

Kudlow said daily negotiations between USA and Chinese officials have been progressing following face-to-face talks in Washington roughly two weeks ago, after which Trump extended a March 1 deadline for increasing US tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. He also said that Mexico would pay for it, though the Mexican government repeatedly has refused to finance the project.

The Mexican government has repeatedly said it has no intention of providing the money.

His top advisers have not provided information to back up many of these assertions, but Kudlow said Sunday that Trump planned to keep fighting.

"I suppose there will be", he said.

"I think the idea of having this massive OCO is not one that pretty much anyone takes seriously", he told reporters last week.

"At a time when our country faces challenges about jobs for the future, this money would better be spent on rebuilding America, and on education and workforce development for jobs for the 21st Century", they said.

Federal health officials have quietly been exploring the controversial idea of giving individual states permission to convert their Medicaid programs to block grants or a system of caps. The State Department will see its spending cut by 23 percent, the Environmental Protection Agency will suffer a 31 percent chop, and food stamps will be cut by $17 billion and other welfare programs by $22 billion.

Mr. Trump's budget proposal is merely that: a proposal.

Looking ahead to Trump's 2020 budget proposal, due on Monday, Kudlow called the expected request for a 5 percent across-the-board reduction in domestic spending tough but necessary.

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