The Trump administration’s suggestions to reduce spending this fiscal year won’t get very far in Congress, as both parties want to avoid funding fights in the final days before the government runs out of money April 28.
President Donald Trump sent Congress an extensive list of $18 billion worth of programs that could be cut from the budget last week, in order to give $30 billion to defense spending and $3.6 billion to the Department of Homeland Security for border protection. (RELATED: Trump Proposes $18 Billion In Domestic Cuts To Pay For The Wall And Defense)
Republicans have little interest in considering Trump’s list of options due to the threat of government shutdown over the wall funding cuts to the domestic budget.
Congress is under pressure to pass a spending bill in the next few weeks, and Congress will be out of session for several weeks in April. There likely won’t be enough political will to engage in a lot of fights about spending cuts.
“I think it is too late for this year,” Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said of Trump’s the proposed budget cuts, The New York Times reports.
The border wall with Mexico is a big issue that Republican leaders do not want to tackle for the remaining months of the 2017 fiscal year. Funding the wall in particular is a “debate that belongs in the next fiscal year,” Collins said.
Trump requested $1 billion to start funding the wall project this fiscal year in a supplemental budget request last month.
“All of the committees, the leaderships of the House and Senate, are working together to try to finalize the rest of the [fiscal year] ’17 bill,” Sen. Roy Blunt, who serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, told reporters Tuesday. “My guess is that comes together better without the supplemental,” Blunt said. (RELATED: Senate Budget Republicans Think Funding Trump’s Wall Is Unlikely)
“I don’t think we need a shutdown argument, period. I don’t know any rational person who wants a shutdown,” Alabama Republican Sen. Richard C. Shelby told The Washington Post. “Congress will decide what they want and what they don’t want,” Shelby said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was optimistic that Congress could get to a budget without a shutdown fight. “Democrats and Republicans . . . are working together on this, and we fully anticipate getting an outcome prior to the end of April,” McConnell told The Washington Post.
The White House emphasized the need to cut spending in order to fund critical defense and border security problems.
“The request for these resources is required to protect our citizens from America’s enemies and to fight terrorism overseas before it comes to our shores,” John Czwartacki, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, told the Washington Post. “We must also be mindful of our $20 trillion national debt crisis and how we spend every tax dollar.”
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