US Politics: Trump announces 2020 budget request

Trump sets out goals for US spending
Trump continues to prioritise defence spending

Medicare and Medicaid take a hit in President Trump's 2020 budget request, as more money is pledged for defence and the wall. The Tradefair team brings you the latest news in US politics...

"We need to continue to secure the border. We’re not going to be bashful about that. But at the same time, we're also going to say that we have many, many programs that are wasteful and inefficient that we can no longer afford,"

- Russell Vought, acting director of White House Office of Management and Budget

President Trump's administration has revealed its 2020 budget request, setting out his stall against the Democrats for re-election. It features sweeping cuts to federal government spending, which is the complete opposite of any of his rivals.

The budget request signals to voters the areas that will be a priority for the president, despite the fact that many of them will never become a reality.

Most of the requests that have been put forward by Trump in the past have been rejected by Congress, but that hasn't stopped him from being bold this time.

Increased spending on defence

He has proposed that spending on defence and border security be ramped up by $33 billion (£25 billion), taking the total Department of Defense Budget to $718 billion. This would represent 57 per cent of the proposed federal discretionary budget.

Mr Trump's request has been named A Budget for a Better America by his administration.

Russell Vought, acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said: "We need to continue to secure the country.

"We need to continue to secure the border. We're not going to be bashful about that. But at the same time, we're also going to say that we have many, many programs that are wasteful and inefficient that we can no longer afford."

In comparison, Mr Trump looks to cut funding for benefits, with $845 billion to be removed from Medicare over the space of a decade.

Other areas he wishes to remove funding from include Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

More budget for the wall

Among the issues that Mr Trump is proposing to spend more of the budget on is the wall along the US border with Mexico. He is pledging an additional $8.6 billion to the $7 billion he secured during the national emergency declaration.

He also wants to establish a paid parental leave program at a cost of $750 million and a $1 billion one-off fund, which would be aimed at helping underserved communities and companies that need more investment in childcare.

Mr Trump has pledged $291 million to fight HIV, promising to stop its spread within the US in a decade. This is a cause that he highlighted in his State of the Union address in February and is following up on.

A hint at things to come

The release of the Trump administration's budget request is just the beginning of the race for the White House. It will see many elements being taken into consideration by both the Democrats and the Republicans over the next 18 months.

Differing growth estimates

In his budget request document, Mr Trump has based his figures around a presumption that economic growth in the US will be at three per cent over the next decade.

The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Congressional Budget Office all predict growth will be around one full percentage point lower than the president's assumptions.

Federal deficit growing

While all eyes were on what the future might hold if Mr Trump is to be re-elected, Mr Vought acknowledged that the federal deficit has grown to $1.1 trillion. He reassured voters that the fiscal picture would be better with the projected economic growth.

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