Fighting for a U.S. federal budget that prioritizes peace, economic security and shared prosperity
Feb. 10, 2020
President Trump released his fourth budget proposal today, and the priorities are crystal clear. Just four agencies rate spending increases in the Trump 2021 budget: the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Treasury Department. From Agriculture to Education, and from Commerce to State, every other federal agency would face cuts under the president’s proposal. Across the board, the Trump budget prioritizes brute force and military solutions over humanitarian and diplomatic ones.
The Pentagon currently accounts for 53% of the discretionary federal budget. By 2030, the Trump budget would give 62% of the discretionary budget to the Pentagon.
This budget takes aim at millions of Americans who have fallen through the cracks of our winner-take-all economy, slashing Medicaid and food stamps and eliminating low-income heating aid and other programs at the same time that it throws billions more into the pockets of powerful military contractors.
In proposing cuts to domestic spending paired with a growing Pentagon budget, the President’s budget disregards the will of the American people. A majority of Americans support shifting Pentagon spending to domestic priorities, yet the president’s budget does the opposite.
As expected, the president has continued his vendetta against immigrants and immigrant communities with this budget proposal. In addition to $2 billion in new constructions funds for a wall, the president has requested funds for additional border patrol agents and staff, ICE officers and staff, and for additional detention beds.
The cruelty of these policies should be enough to stop them, but to add insult to injury, the Trump immigration policies put the lie to the conservative claim that deficit reduction is among their highest priorities. Not only do walls and detention centers cost billions, but comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship would lead to reduced deficits.
In the words of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.”
The president’s budget fully funds the forever wars in Afghanistan and Iraq at $69 billion and increases foreign military aid by $2 billion, but it cuts funds for diplomacy and development aid, and it completely eliminates $8 billion that Congress allocated for the State Department to conduct diplomacy and aid in war zones.
The president promised to end the wars, but doubling down on military funding while starving diplomacy seems designed to eliminate the chance for peaceful solutions.
The president’s budget makes much of the fact that it directs its massive Pentagon budget to support a new, 21st-century focus on “great powers competition.” This recycling of a tired 20th century narrative about military superpowers fails to recognize climate change as the biggest threat to our security in the 21st century.
Solutions to climate change will require sustained federal investment in energy solutions, and in international cooperation and diplomacy to coordinate an effective worldwide response. Instead, this budget cuts funds for renewable energy programs and diplomacy, and encourages a competitive arms race when what we need is a cooperative energy race.