President Donald Trump is proposing a $4.7 trillion budget that cuts domestic spending by 5 percent, increases defense spending by 4 percent, to $750 billion, and includes $8.6 billion for his border wall with Mexico, along with several major policy changes.
Two members of Maine’s congressional delegation will consider the budget and both say there is no way it will pass as proposed.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins, and Democratic House Rep. Chellie Pingree serve on their respective appropriations committees. Both say Trump’s budget is only a starting point, and significant changes will be needed to get it through Congress.
Among them, Collins says, involves setting new spending caps.
“Clearly one of the important things we need to do is come together and decide on a new package for what the spending caps are going to be,” she said.
If the spending caps are not reset, Collins says, they will go back to the 2011 levels currently in law.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 set limits on federal spending in exchange for a raise in the country’s debt ceiling, outlining $917 billion in spending cuts over 10 years and setting in motion an additional $1.1 trillion in cuts through 2021 through sequestration.
But lawmakers from both parties have often overridden those caps to pass spending plans in the years since then to keep the federal government open.
Meanwhile, Rep. Pingree says many of Trump’s proposals simply won’t pass the House.
“I like to give it some deference and say [it’s] not completely dead on arrival,” said Pingree. “But the truth is it is a process that has to go in a certain way, so you have to start with the framework of this document.”
But Pingree says she’s grateful that Trump has finally proposed his budget so the appropriations committees can begin their work.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.