For the federal government’s fiscal 2018 budget, President Donald Trump wanted massive cuts for nine cabinet level agencies, ranging from 11 percent for Interior up to 29 percent for the State Department and 31 percent for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Congress threw his requests into the legislative dumpster and handed out increases to eight of the nine agencies and kept EPA at the same level as the current year.
Trump demanded $25 billion to begin work on his wall between Mexico and the United States. He got $16 billion, with $38 million for planning and the remainder for repairs of existing immigration barriers and 33 miles of fencing. Not a single foot of construction is authorized for his desired wall, a key campaign promise that many felt helped him win the presidency in 2016.
“Legislatively, the president’s year in 2018 is turning out to be more dismal than 2017, which was pretty bad in itself,” says one worried GOP strategist. “He supported GOP candidates who should have won in special elections in heavy Republican districts and lost. The failures are mounting up.”
Trump promised to cut spending. Instead, it is going up to record levels and the already record budget deficits are expected to hit $1 trillion.
A big part of his problem was Trump’s inability to understand how the federal government operates. He promised increased spending on the nation’s infrastructure but then proposed reducing transportation spending by 13 percent.
Congress increased transportation by 47 percent.
The one area where Trump wanted increased spending was the military. Congress agreed and that spending is now considered a major part of discretionary budget spending that will top $1 trillion his year and more than $1.2 trillion next year.
Trump briefly threatened to veto the spending bill that passed on March 23 but signed it and has been in a bad mood ever since.
“Even by Trumpian standards, the president has been in high dudgeon this week, railing about everything from illegal immigrants to unfair Chinese trade practices,” writes former Treasury secretary counselor Steven Rattner in The New York Times. “For that, at least some Trump watchers blame his smashing defeat in the passage on March 23 of the omnibus spending bill.”
For a president who always declares himself “a winner,” the downbeat goes for Trump — the loser.
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