What’s the definition of insanity again? For Donald Trump, irrationality seems to be the art of all deals.
Reuters reported that on Monday, Trump will seek $8.6 billion from Congress to fund border wall construction in his 2020 budget request.
In the last showdown with Congress over wall funding, Trump sought $5.7 billion, despite repeatedly claiming on the 2016 campaign trail that Mexico would pay for it. He didn’t get the money, and the deadlock with lawmakers led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
Trump then attempted an end around Congress in February by declaring a national emergency over the situation at the southern U.S. border.
According to Reuters, Trump’s 2020 request is “more than six times what Congress allocated for border projects in each of the past two fiscal years, and 6 percent more than Trump has corralled by invoking emergency powers this year.”
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow confirmed Trump’s plans in an appearance on Fox News Sunday. While calling for more wall funding, the budget request also reportedly will seek to cut domestic spending, environmental programs, and anti-poverty programs, among others, host Chris Wallace observed.
Asked why Trump would do this instead of maybe reversing tax cuts for billionaires, Kudlow responded, “Why not?”
“If you want to deal with budget deficits, you’ve got rapid growth, which means keep the tax cuts in place. We believe the 3% growth rate of 2018 will continue in 2019 and beyond…I think the other element is always to limit spending, and the president is proposing roughly a 5% across-the-board reduction in domestic spending accounts. It will be a tough budget,” Kudlow said.
The Congressional Budget Office projects real GDP growth in 2019 at 2.3%, down from 3.1% in 2018. After that, it’s projected to slow even further to an average of 1.7% through 2023, according to the CBO.
“So, there’s going to be another budget fight over the wall?” Wallace asked, to which Kudlow responded, “Well, I suppose there will be.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded by saying that Democrats beat Trump once on the issue, and they’ll beat him again if they have to.
In a joint statement with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, Pelosi said, “President Trump hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shut down the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall, which he promised would be paid for by Mexico. Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson.”
According to The Washington Post, Trump will seek to cut $2.7 trillion in the next 10 years on domestic programs and foreign aid. He also wants to increase military spending from $716 billion to $750 billion next year, the newspaper noted.
The CBO expects the federal budget deficit to exceed $1 trillion each year starting in 2022.
Trump wants to use the $8.6 billion to build or replace 722 miles of border barriers based on a 2017 plan by Customs and Border Protection, which would cost an estimated $18 billion, according to Reuters. About 111 miles of that has either already been built or is underway, the news agency said.
In this year’s budget, Congress appropriated about $1.4 billion for border fencing.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Nita M. Lowey tweeted that Trump’s “ridiculous” proposal “is not even worth the paper it’s written on.”