WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump will unveil his second budget on Monday, seeking to make good on his promise to bolster military spending and requesting funds for infrastructure, construction of a wall along the border with Mexico and opioid treatment programs.
The budget plan, viewed largely as suggestions by Congress, which has the constitutional authority to decide spending levels, will likely draw criticism from conservatives who worry that Republicans are embracing deficit spending.
The proposal will include $200 billion for infrastructure spending and more than $23 billion for border security and immigration enforcement, Mick Mulvaney, who heads the administration's budget office, said in a statement on Sunday night.
It will also provide "for a robust and rebuilt national defense," he said.
But the statement added that the proposal would recommend cuts that would lower the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years.
"The budget does bend the trajectory down," Mulvaney told the "Fox News Sunday" program. "It does move us back toward balance. It does get us away from trillion-dollar deficits."
The budget request will be delivered to Congress only days after Trump signed off on a bipartisan spending agreement hammered out by lawmakers that will increase domestic spending by $300 billion over two years - including $165 billion in military spending and $131 billion in nonmilitary domestic spending.
Trump's budget will include a number of economic forecasts and is expected to rely on estimates that the economy will keep growing at a rapid pace for the foreseeable future.
Such forecasts could obscure the level of deficit spending, said Robert Greenstein, president of the progressive Center for Budget Policy and Priorities. "It'll essentially be another budget gimmick, alongside rosy economic assumptions, to make the deficit smaller than it will actually be," Greenstein said.
However, Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, saluted Trump "for providing the leadership we have desperately needed to reclaim our rightful place as global leader on true 21st-century infrastructure."
"When ports are clogged, trucks are delayed, power is down, water is shut off, or the internet has a lapse, modern manufacturers' ability to compete is threatened and jobs are put at risk," said Timmons. "There is no excuse for inaction, and manufacturers are committed to ensuring that America seizes this opportunity."
Reuters - Ap
(China Daily 02/13/2018 page12)