Speed Reads

Budget debate

Republicans vow wholesale changes to President Trump's budget plan

On Thursday, President Trump sent his first budget plan to Congress, and it was not warmly received. Democrats criticized its sharp cuts to the EPA and programs for the vulnerable, and Republicans signaled that Congress would write its own budget. Republican defense hawks said Trump's increase in military spending was not big enough, while many GOP lawmakers criticized the proposed 28 percent cut to the State Department, slashing of the National Institutes of Health budget, and steep reduction in funds for programs and services in poor and rural areas. If the House voted on Trump's budget as is, one top House Republican told Politico, "I don't think we'd get 50 votes for it."

"I think the president's proposal is not our starting point," said Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the president's skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive," said Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), a member and former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. "We will certainly review this budget proposal, but Congress ultimately has the power of the purse." The cuts to foreign aid "will not stand," he added. "This too shall pass."