Trump Budget Slammed for 'Sacrificing Working Americans to War Machine'

Trump called the U.S. military "depleted" and said the budget would propose "historic" increases to expand it. (Photo: North Charleston /flickr/cc)

Trump Budget Slammed for 'Sacrificing Working Americans to War Machine'

Many feared the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be on the chopping block to balance increased military spending

President Donald Trump will propose a federal budget that ramps up defense spending by $54 billion and slashes "lower-priority" programs across agencies by an equal amount, the White House announced Monday.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) did not identify which agencies would be slated for cutbacks, but administration officials said almost all other discretionary programs, as well as foreign aid, would see spending reductions. In a statement, Trump called the U.S. military "depleted" and said the budget would propose "historic" increases to expand it.

Many feared that meant that departments that have long been in conservative crosshairs, like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), would face the biggest cuts.

"[President] Trump's morally bankrupt budget will funnel more money to the Pentagon at the expense of the poor [and] our planet. This is an awful idea," tweeted Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif).

It "has everything to do with rightwing ideology, nothing to do with fiscal responsibility," added The Nation 's Katrina vanden Heuvel, paraphrasing an article by William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.

The budget will be submitted to Congress next month, where it is expected to meet resistance from Democratic lawmakers. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the blueprint will take "a meat ax to programs that benefit the middle-class."

Friends of the Earth senior political strategist Ben Schreiber said, "Members of Congress should stamp this budget as dead on arrival. Senate Democrats must come out immediately and make it clear that sacrificing working Americans to Trump's war machine is an unacceptable trade."

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club , said , "A budget is a statement of priorities, and with this proposal, Trump is telling America he doesn't care about what happens to children who are forced to drink toxic water and breath polluted air.... This is a budget rigged to boost the profits of corporate polluters at the expense of the health of our families."

Trump said the budget will put "America first," a common refrain from his xenophobic campaign. In addition to military spending, it will seemingly include funds to increase local law enforcement agencies' participation in the president's crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

"We will fight violent crime, and we will win, and we will win that one fairly quickly once we give the local police, the local law enforcement, the right to go in and fight, and we back them monetarily and also otherwise," he said, adding that the budget "follows through on my promise of keeping America safe, keeping out terrorists, keeping out criminals, and putting violent offenders behind bars or removing them from our country altogether."

As the National Priorities Project noted on Twitter, "when it comes to military spending, America is already first. Not first for education, health outcomes, economic mobility."

Reports last week outlined the OMB's " hit list " of federal programs, assembled by the office's newly-confirmed chief Mick Mulvaney, which targeted the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Export-Import Bank, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, which funds AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps projects.

"When you see these deductions you'll be able to tie it back to a speech the president gave or something the president has said previously," Mulvaney said Monday. "We are taking his words and turning them into policies and dollars."

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