Rep. Danny K. Davis Response to President Trump's Address to the Joint Session of Congress
President Trump outlined his budget for the Congress and the American people last night. While the extreme rhetoric has been scaled back the audacity of the proposed cuts to basic services have not been scaled back and are enough to take ones breath away. Even leading Republicans declared the budget plan “dead on arrival”. Here are some of the highlights (or lowlights):
Defense spending: $603 billion. All other discretionary, non-defense spending: $463 billion after cutting $54 billion for defense from EPA, FDA, national parks, medical research, diplomacy and foreign aid, Pell Grants, SNAP benefits, LIHEAP, higher education, public transit and other critical programs and not accounting for any changes to the tax code, health care, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid or diversions of resources from public schools. Nor does it account for building a “wall”. The cuts to non-defense spending would be devastating and non-sustainable. Adding more pork to the already bloated defense spending will not provide any new security and President Trump offered no details of where the money would go or how it would improve security.
President Trump repeated a long series of “alternate facts” as ostensible justification for his spending plan. As detailed by the Washington Post:
On his “ban on lobbying” which actually is weaker than similar bans under Presidents Obama and Bush in key areas
On border security where he exaggerated drug and illegal immigration flows
On the creation of new jobs where he continues to take credit for business decisions made before his election
On the cost of the F-35 which had announced cost reductions before Trump’s meeting with Lockheed Martin executives
On the number of jobs to be created by the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines
On the distortion and mischaracterization of statistics on who is being deported by ICE
On the impact of illegal immigration on wages and crime in the U.S.
On confusing the number of persons “not in the labor force” with those who do not want to work including retired persons, students, stay-at-home parents and the disabled
On grossly miscounting spending on wars in the Middle East and then claiming that money could have been used for infrastructure ignoring President Obama repeated efforts to pass a major infrastructure bill while offer no infrastructure plan of his own
On misstating the facts on crime and especially homicide and using anecdotes instead of facts especially anecdotes which distort the crime rate for the undocumented
On misstating the facts about NATO allies share of defense spending
This is not a “new” President Trump anymore than there was a “new” Nixon. I will not support these budget priorities and I suspect that the resistance to President Trump’s budget will be at least as powerful as the resistance to his executive orders and his phoney plan to repeal and replace the ACA.