Everyone has something to hate in Trump's new budget

Rushed out in order to avert a government shutdown, the new budget has problems for both liberals and conservatives

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published March 22, 2018 9:58AM (EDT)

 (Getty/Alex Wong)
(Getty/Alex Wong)

The new budget supported by President Donald Trump as an alternative to a government shutdown is a giant gift to the military — and a deep disappointment for many other people on both the left and right.

The big winners in the new $1.3 trillion budget are military and infrastructure spending, according to the Associated Press. While there are plenty of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that will applaud those spending increases, other major policy priorities have gone by the wayside. For instance, although Trump did receive $1.6 billion for border wall spending, less than half of the 95 miles of border construction would actually go toward building a wall, with the rest allocated to repairing existing structures.

"In the $1.3 trillion spending bill, Trump will secure about $1.6 billion in funding for barriers along the border, which White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders touted as a win but is nonetheless far short of the $25 billion the administration had sought," wrote Seung Min Kim of The Washington Post.

She added, "Democrats were prepared to give Trump the funding he wanted despite their stiff opposition to a wall, but Trump wasn’t willing to compromise more on the fate of dreamers, leaving it unlikely either issue will be addressed anytime soon."

One of the most notable features of the bill was how it leaves unresolved the fate of Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who came to the United States with their parents as children. It left many Democrats dissatisfied with the final shape of the bill, even as many Republicans have expressed dismay at the size of its price tag and the rush to get it passed. Gun control advocates were also disappointed by the bill's modest reforms — such as increasing school safety funds and improving compliance with the criminal background check system — and by its failure to include advocacy among the CDC's responsibilities regarding the health consequences of gun policy. The bill also failed to include an earmark protecting money for a rail tunnel under the Hudson River, which was a major priority for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and could have a wide-ranging impact on the economy in the Northeast.

Republicans weren't entirely happy with the bill either. In addition to concerns about its cost and the speed with which it's being passed, many Republicans were dissatisfied that it doesn't include a bipartisan plan to expand health care options for veterans, according to The Washington Post. There are also complaints about the bill including any gun control provisions at all.

"It’s a good thing we have Republican control of Congress or the Democrats might bust the budget caps, fund planned parenthood and Obamacare, and sneak gun control without due process into an Omni ... wait, what?" Sen. Rand Paul tweeted about the budget.

On the other hand, the bill did not include a plan that would have helped shore up the individual health insurance markets, one that had been developed by Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., according to the Seattle Times. This was at least in part due to a Republican proposal to withhold funds from insurance plans that offer abortion coverage.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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