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Trump's New 'Hard Power' Budget: What's on the Chopping Block

03-17-2017
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WASHINGTON – When it comes to spending Americans' tax dollars, Congress gets the last say. But President Donald Trump's first budget proposal reveals a lot about his priorities as commander in chief.

Stephen Moore, an economist with the Heritage Foundation, says Trump's new budget is a collection of his campaign promises translated into dollars and cents.

"He comes out with a budget that does exactly that and Washington goes apoplectic because they've very rarely seen a politician that comes to Washington and does exactly what he says he's gonna do," said Moore.

Budget Winners

The $1.1 trillion spending plan includes "big league" winners, like the U.S. military, which gets a 10 percent boost, the Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs.

The plan also includes $1.5 billion to start building a wall along America's southern border – another campaign promise White House officials say Trump intends to fulfill.

"The president has made it extremely clear from day one his priority is an America first budget and that we've got to put national security at the top and forefront of that," White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CBN News.

Budget Losers

The budget blueprint also includes some major losers.

The Environmental Protection Agency and State Department bear the bulk of the president's cuts, followed by the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Commerce, Education, Housing and Urban Development – and the list goes on.

Nearly 30 percent in cuts to the State Department includes a slashing of foreign aid – money the U.S. uses to help other countries economically. It's one of the cuts top Republicans and faith leaders can't stomach.

In a letter to congressional leaders, more than 100 evangelical and other faith leaders wrote, "As people of faith, we cannot turn our back on those in desperate need. With just 1 percent of our nation's budget, the international affairs budget has helped alleviate the suffering of millions."

Moore disagreed.

"Foreign aid is probably the single most wasteful spending item in the federal budget," he told CBN News.

"We've spent tens of billions of dollars over the last 30 or 40 years, for example, on development aid to Africa," he said. "We all want to help people that are poor or hungry in Africa, but there's no evidence that any of those programs have worked."

PBS, NPR on the Chopping Block

Trump's budget also completely cuts funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, along with the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio – something many Republicans have been pushing for years.

"I put myself in the shoes of that steel worker in Ohio, the coal mining family in West Virginia, the mother of two in Detroit and I say, okay, I have to go ask those folks for money and I have to tell them where I'm going to spend it," Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told CBN News.

"Can I really go to those folks, look them in the eye and say, 'Look, I want to take money from you and I want to give it to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,'" he said. "That is a really hard sell. In fact, it's something we don't think we can defend anymore."

Mulvaney calls it a hard power budget, designed to send a message to America's allies and enemies. All of these budget decisions come from the discretionary part of government spending.

The Trump administration will likely talk more about the real budget busters, like Social Security and Medicare, in the future.

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