By proposing to cut domestic spending, Donald Trump has exposed Republicans as defenders of Big Government.
Democrats are attacking Donald Trump’s proposed cuts in domestic spending. That’s the emphasis of Fox News:
But since Democrats don’t control either the House or the Senate, why does their opposition matter? Surely the Republicans will deliver the cuts!
Not likely. As Bloomberg reports,
Donald Trump is offering an audacious budget with steep cuts to nearly every domestic department, but there is little chance that Congress will accept the bulk of its recommendations.
“It is clear that this budget proposed today cannot pass the Senate,” said Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, an Arizona Republican.
Even Republicans in the House were notably lukewarm in their reaction Thursday to Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request. House Speaker Paul Ryan called it part of a “long, ongoing” budget process, while Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi said “I look forward” to working with the Trump administration to “to help Washington become more accountable.”
No president in recent memory has proposed such austerity to non-defense programs — with cuts averaging more than 10 percent before inflation. Trump is seeking to slash key agencies like the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency by about 30 percent, while paring tens of billions of dollars from health, education, scientific research, housing, energy and transportation.
But the reaction from Congress reflects the significant challenges the new president faces as he works to bring his budget ideas to fruition. In both chambers, most domestic programs have bipartisan advocates. And in the Senate, where the party holds just 52 of 100 seats, bipartisan support for cuts will be imperative because it takes 60 votes to move spending bills past opponents’ delaying tactics.
Most programs have bipartisan support. That means that the voters have given the Republican Party control of both House and Senate on the basis of promises to cut spending and they aren’t cooperating. Granted: the Senate would be a problem because of the number of Democrats still there, but there is no excuse for Congress.
Back when Trump was running in the primary, other candidates claimed he was not a real conservative. They even told us he was just a Northeastern Big Government Liberal. There may be some basis for that claim. Donald Trump isn’t claiming to be a fiscal conservative. But he’s proposing cuts that no other Republican President has dared to make. And he’s being opposed now by other Republicans.
If a standard Republican had won the election then he would have proposed expanding spending in all these areas. But he would have increased domestic spending less than Democrats would want. The Democrats would have described this lesser increase in domestic spending as if they were “cuts” in spending. In this way both parties provide cover for each other.
By winning a historic victory and then trying to keep some of his promises, Donald Trump has messed up the game that both parties were playing with the American people.
The Bloomberg article also prepares readers for a government “shutdown.” When Republicans supposedly caused such a “shutdown” the media condemned them. When the Democrats do it, they will be portrayed as heroes.