03.11.19

Statement Of Senate Appropriations Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy On President Trump's Budget Proposal

For the third year in a row, President Trump has sent a budget proposal that is dead on arrival and divorced from reality.  It is not worth the paper it is printed on, and it will be rejected by Congress. 

Yet again, the President has proposed shortsighted cuts that would slash investments in infrastructure, medical research, and American families, cuts that have been rejected by Congress two fiscal years in a row.  But now he relies on a budget gimmick, Overseas Contingency Operations funding (OCO), to fund a massive increase for the Department of Defense that is not subject to the budget caps, a gimmick his own Acting Chief of Staff rightfully criticized as a “misuse” of funding as a member of Congress, at a time when the President is actively withdrawing our country from the global stage. 

Yet again, the President seeks to extract billions of dollars from American taxpayers to fund an ineffective wall he promised Mexico would pay for and Republicans and Democrats in Congress have repeatedly rejected.

This is not a serious proposal.  President Trump should work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to reach a bipartisan budget agreement so we can begin the fiscal year 2020 appropriations process.  Without an agreement, the law requires that we cut $71 billion (minus 11 percent) from defense programs and $54 billion from non-defense programs (minus 9 percent).  The clock is already ticking, and we cannot and should not waste our time on partisan proposals and failed policies.

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