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The White House on Sunday unveiled a $4.8 trillion budget proposal that would slash spending dramatically on foreign aid and social safety nets, while including $2 billion for a southern border wall and substantially boosting funding to NASA, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security.
Fox News has confirmed the details of the budget, which The Wall Street Journal first reported. The package as-is stood little chance of passage in the House of Representatives, which the Democrats have controlled. Still, it served as a signal of the president’s priorities as Republicans have aimed to retake the chamber in the 2020 elections.
In all, the White House is seeking to cut $4.4 trillion in federal spending over the next 10 years, including reductions in spending on food stamps and federal disability benefits through more stringent work and eligibility requirements. Modifications in Medicare prescription-drug pricing would account for $130 billion in savings.
“Working together, the Congress can reduce drug prices substantially from current levels,” Trump said during last week’s State of the Union address. “I have been speaking to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and others in the Congress in order to get something on drug pricing done, and done properly. I am calling for bipartisan legislation that achieves the goal of dramatically lowering prescription drug prices. Get a bill to my desk, and I will sign it into law without delay.”
Foreign aid would be reduced by 21 percent, in keeping with the president’s push to have other countries pay what he calls their “fair share” for their own defense. Trump’s temporary suspension of aid to Ukraine helped trigger impeachment proceedings; one of Republicans’ defenses was that the president has long sought to suspend or reduce U.S. financial commitments overseas — especially to notoriously corrupt countries.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would face a massive 26-percent reduction in funding. The Trump administration has rolled back Obama-era EPA regulations and oversight, saying they have hurt the economy for little benefit.
The proposal also would cut the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget by 15 percent, while incorporating $2.8 billion for grants to help combat homelessness. And, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would see a 9 percent cut, although its $4.3 billion allocation for fighting infectious disease would remain amid the coronavirus spread.
Homeland Security’s budget would grow by 3 percent; the National Nuclear Security Administration’s by 19 percent; and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ by 13 percent.
Fox News reported this weekend on the budget’s 12-percent hike in NASA funding, with the goal of returning astronauts to the moon. No one has been to the moon since 1972 under NASA’s now-shuttered Apollo program.
Since taking office, Trump has made space exploration one of its top priorities, and his administration has set a target of 2024 for the next lunar landing.
NASA’s new space program named Artemis, for the Greek goddess of the moon and sister to Apollo, has aimed to put the first woman on the moon. Long-term, NASA has wanted to establish a sustainable human presence on the moon with the goal of sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.
Trump’s budget specifically would increase NASA spending from about $22.6 billion to $25.2 billion in fiscal 2021, one of the biggest spending increases requested since the 1990s.
The big lunar budget request was in addition to Trump’s other astronomical project: the Space Force. Trump signed an Oval Office directive last February to make the Space Force the sixth branch of the military, with a mission to patrol the orbit and protect the U.S. from attacks.
Fox News’ John Roberts and Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.