Several noteworthy Republican lawmakers signalled Thursday that they are so far unimpressed with President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal, a plan that would slash popular services and programs and give a $US54 billion boost to defence spending.
Trump’s proposal has received mixed reviews in part for its deep cuts to humanities and arts programs, and services to disabled children and older Americans.
Members of Trump’s Cabinet, including White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said programs like Meals on Wheels — the public service that provides hot meals to the elderly — “sound great,” but it and other anti-poverty programs are “not showing any results.”
The deep cuts are unsurprising. Trump has spent his campaign and the early months of his presidency touting promises to boost military spending and slash what he considers wasteful government spending. Still, Trump’s moves have not gone unnoticed among Republicans.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said cuts to the State Department — the second-biggest loser in Trump’s budget — “undermine America’s ability to keep our citizens safe.”
“American’s leadership on the global stage is indispensable,” Rubio said. “I will be working to ensure Congress’ funding priorities allow America to play this role.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, took a swipe at the budget’s heavy focus on defence spending while cutting funds at agencies like the State Department.
“These increases in defence come at the expense of national security, soft power, and other priorities,” he said.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and President Trump to create a budget that is fiscally responsible, makes our country safer and preserves wise investments in our future,” Graham added.
Rep. Ed Royce, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Trump’s budget leaves too many unanswered questions.
“We need a strong reform budget that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of foreign assistance. And we can achieve this without undermining vital US economic and national security interests,” Royce said.
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