Reports said the newly revealed White House budget blueprint, a discretionary spending wishlist for the next year, calls for major increases in spending while calling for major cuts to domestic spending, the State Department and foreign aid.
Any final budget changes have to be approved by Congress, but the president’s vision is to add $54 billion to spending and cut the State Department and US Agency for International Development by 28 percent, ABC reported.
“There is no question this is a hard power budget, it is not a soft power budget,” the president’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters.
“The president very clearly wanted to send a message to our allies and our potential adversaries that this is a strong power administration, so you have seen money move from soft power programs, such as foreign aid, into more hard power programs.”
While Mulvaney described the cuts to the State Department as “fairly dramatic,” he said the country’s core diplomatic functions will not be impacted by the cuts, which he said are focused on reducing foreign aid.
“That is not a commentary on the president’s policies toward the State Department, that is a comment on the president’s policies toward what is in their budget,” he said. “The foreign aid line items just happen to fall in State.”
Trump’s promised border wall will get a cash influx of $1.5 billion in the blueprint, Mulvaney said, with possibly more money flowing to that project in the next year’s budget. He said this funding will provide for a couple of “pilot cases” to see what type of wall structure is most cost efficient and effective.
Mulvaney described the blueprint as “the America first” budget, one designed to follow up on the president’s campaign promises.
“If he said it on the campaign, it’s in the budget,” Mulvaney said.
“We wrote it using the president’s own words,” he added. “We went through his speeches, we went the articles that have been written about his policies … and we turned those policies into numbers. So you had an ‘America First’ candidate, you have an ‘America First’ budget.”
While Mulvaney said a balanced budget is not achievable this year, he said a guiding principle in crafting the budget blueprint was not adding to the deficit, so that every new dollar of new spending is accounted for by a cut elsewhere.
One of the victims of the coming cuts? Big Bird.
Mulvaney said the administration proposes phasing out all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
“We propose ending funding but technically what you’ll see … some amount of money that’s necessary for us to unwind our involvement with the CPB,” Mulvaney said. “There won’t be a zero next to it, but the policy is that we are ending involvement with the Corporation for Public broadcasting.”