Politics

White House budget: Trump administration to unveil FY2019 budget proposal, including billions for wall

The Trump administration will unveil part of the president’s budget proposal on Monday, a month behind schedule. 

The Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will release the first phase of the president’s budget Monday, with more details coming on March 18. Federal law stipulates the president provide his budget proposal to Congress the first week of February. The reason for the delay is unclear. 

The budget includes an $8.6 billion request for funding to build a wall on the southern border, according to an administration official. The additional funds would give the administration enough funds to complete 722 miles of wall, at a projected cost of $25 million per mile. The White House is also requesting $3.6 billion to pay back the money the administration plans to redirect under the president’s national emergency declaration.

The proposal includes $750 billion in military spending, with 5 percent cuts in non-defense domestic discretionary spending across the board. The plan would aim balance the budget by 2034, the official said. 

Mr. Trump’s budget proposal is merely that: a proposal. Congress has the final say in setting funding levels for federal agencies and programs. This is the first budget Mr. Trump is presenting to a divided Congress. 

The president’s budget comes as federal deficits are exploding. The deficit increased 77 percent in the first four months of fiscal 2019 compared to the same period last year, reaching $310 billion for just that four-month period, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And the national debt surpassed $22 trillion for the first time in history this year under Mr. Trump. 

Last year, the president proposed a $4.4 trillion budget for 2019. Back then, the president specifically highlighted his infrastructure proposal, which has gone nowhere since. 

“To me this is a very, very sexy subject,” Mr. Trump said in February of last year when he proposed his budget. “I find it sexy because I was a builder. I always knew how to build on time, on budget and that’s what we want here.”

At a press conference last month, the president suggested rebuilding the military is more urgent than addressing the national debt. 

“If we don’t have a strong military, you don’t have to worry about debt, you have bigger problems,” Mr. Trump said in a Rose Garden press conference where he declared a national emergency. 

Sara Cook contributed to this report.


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