Military wins in first Trump budget; environment, aid lose big

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FILE PHOTO - U.S. President Donald Trump is seen during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S. on February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump will ask the U.S. Congress for dramatic cuts to many federal programs as he seeks to bulk up defence spending, start building a wall on the border with Mexico and spend more money deporting illegal immigrants.

In a federal budget proposal with many losers, the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department stand out as targets for the biggest spending reductions. Funding would disappear altogether for 19 independent bodies that count on federal money for public broadcasting, the arts and regional issues from Alaska to Appalachia.

Trump’s budget outline is a bare-bones plan covering just “discretionary” spending for the 2018 fiscal year starting on Oct. 1. It is the first volley in what is expected to be an intense battle over spending in coming months in Congress, which holds the federal purse strings and seldom approves presidents’ budget plans.

Congress, controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, may reject some or many of his proposed cuts. Some of the proposed changes, which Democrats will broadly oppose, have been targeted for decades by conservative Republicans.

Moderate Republicans have already expressed unease with potential cuts to popular domestic programs such as home-heating subsidies, clean-water projects and job training.

Trump is willing to discuss priorities, said White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman who made a name for himself as a spending hawk before Trump plucked him for his Cabinet.

“The president wants to spend more money on defence, more money securing the border, more money enforcing the laws, and more money on school choice, without adding to the deficit,” Mulvaney told a small group of reporters during a preview on Wednesday.

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“If they have a different way to accomplish that, we are more than interested in talking to them,” Mulvaney said.   Continued…

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