A federal budget proposal negotiated by Republicans and Democrats in Congress promises $1.07 trillion in spending to keep the federal government in greenbacks until the end of September. However, the proposal does not include some signal proposals made by President Trump, including funding for his proposed border wall, and cuts to the funding of so-called “sanctuary” cities. Funding for Planned Parenthood, however, was included.
Congress did set aside $1.5 billion for border security and $12.5 billion down payment for strengthening the military. The latter figure could rise to $15 billion if Trump should offer a plan to fight the Islamic State terror group. However, that is only half of Trump's original $30 billion request.
Democrats in Congress appeared to be pleased with the results. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released a statement, saying, "The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren't used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison pill riders, and increases investments in programs that the middle class relies on, like medical research, education and infrastructure.” Reading the same page was Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who said in a separate statement that the budget “omnibus does not fund President Trump's immoral and unwise border wall or create a cruel new deportation force.” Trump had asked for $1.5 billion towards the building of the barrier.
The two chambers of Congress have until 11:59 p.m. Friday to approve the budget in order to prevent a government shutdown. If it does pass, the omnibus budget would be the first bipartisan legislation to pass during Trump’s administration, so far. While Democrats assuredly will vote in favor, there are Republican skeptics in Congress and the White House who may stand in the way.
Even though Republicans control Congress and the White House, Democratic votes will be needed to pass the measure that will resemble the deal that was reached while Barack Obama was residing in the White House. Analyzing the result of bipartisanship was Matt Purple at Rare.com He wrote, “It’s Democrats who are elated over this budget. They’ve long telegraphed that they’re perfectly copacetic with GOP spending priorities so long as they’re permitted their own profligate orgies on the domestic side. This budget codifies that imbalance into the fiscal policy of the United States. Hence a gushing Chuck Schumer: ‘This agreement is a good agreement for the American people, and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table.’ With his party having faced a Carthaginian electoral annihilation last November, there’s no way he should sound that pleased.”
Purple wrote that Republicans did not apparently seek to drawdown entitlements or haggled over spending priorities. He wrote, “They did none of that. They instead accomplished two things: 1.) further inflaming our Spain-sized debt-to-GDP ratio, and 2.) proving Purple’s Law of Political Cravenness: Republicans are a majority party that function like they’re in the minority, and Democrats are a minority party that function like they’re in the majority. Ah, but an objection arises. Maybe Republicans are behaving like a majority party: they just never gave a damn about cutting spending in the first place.”
Some observers see in the budget proposal yet another defeat for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) who has also been unable to deliver an alternative to Obamacare. Expressing his disappointment was President Trump who told Fox News' Martha MacCallum on Friday that he is "disappointed” that House Republicans have not gotten more traction. Concerning Ryan, Trump appeared conciliatory, saying that he is “trying very, very hard.”
Among the others disappointed by the Republicans were pro-life activists. Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, released a statement on May 1, stating, It is deeply troubling that the Republican-led Congress and the Trump Administration has proposed a budget that will give the largest abortion provider in the world hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money. This is a betrayal of America's children, women exploited by abortion and the pro-life community who worked countless hours and gave millions of dollars to help Mr. Trump get elected. Clearly funding the largest abortion provider in the world is not making 'America Great Again.'" Mahoney called on Congress to immediately defund Planned Parenthood. The abortion provider benefits from approximately $500 million in government subsidies.
Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.