Trump Budget Grows Deficit, Cuts Aid
Trump's budget balloons deficits, cuts social safety net. AP: "President Donald Trump unveiled a $4.4 trillion budget plan Monday that envisions steep cuts to America's social safety net but mounting spending on the military, formally retreating from last year's promises to balance the federal budget. The president's spending outline for the first time acknowledges that the Republican tax overhaul passed last year would add billions to the deficit and not "pay for itself" as Trump and his Republican allies asserted. If enacted as proposed, though no presidential budget ever is, the plan would establish an era of $1 trillion-plus yearly deficits... Trump's budget revived his calls for big cuts to domestic programs that benefit the poor and middle class, such as food stamps, housing subsidies and student loans."
Infrastructure Plan Favors Private Investors
Trump’s infrastructure plan puts burden on state and private money. NYT: "President Trump’s $200 billion plan to rebuild America upends the criteria that have long been used to pick ambitious federal projects, putting little emphasis on how much an infrastructure proposal benefits the public and more on finding private investors and other outside sources of money... Those financial priorities are crystallized in the new guidelines established by the White House. The ability to find sources of funding outside the federal government will be the most important yardstick, accounting for 70 percent of the formula for choosing infrastructure projects. How “the project will spur economic and social returns on investment” ranks at the bottom, at just 5 percent. In this new competition for federal funds, a plan to, say, build a better access road for a luxury development — a project with the potential to bring in more dollars from private investors — could have a strong chance of getting the green light. By comparison, a critical tunnel overhaul that has trouble getting new money might not be approved."
Senate Opens Immigration Debate
Senate begins ‘wild’ week of debate on immigration. NYT: "With the fate of hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants in the balance, the Senate on Monday began an open-ended debate on immigration — an exceedingly rare step that, in effect, will allow senators to attempt to build a bill from scratch on the Senate floor. The highly unusual debate, expected to unfold throughout the week, will test whether a series of legislative concepts and proposals championed by President Trump and a variety of Republicans and Democrats can garner 60 votes, the threshold for a measure to pass the Senate. No one has any idea how it will turn out."
Mulvaney Wants To Gut CFPB
Mulvaney proposes to gut CFPB he currently leads. Washington Examiner: "Funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would move to the congressional appropriations process and then be almost completely wiped out, under President Trump's budget proposal for fiscal 2019. Of the $3 trillion-plus in spending cuts proposed in Trump’s budget request, $6.4 billion would come from the CFPB, the small agency tasked with regulating mortgages, credit cards, and other financial products. The proposed cuts are noteworthy for a few reasons. First is that the bureau is currently headed by acting director Mick Mulvaney — the same person who, in his other role as director of the Office of Management and Budget, called for the cuts. The second is that the bureau doesn’t get funding from Congress. Instead, it receives its funding from the Federal Reserve, which in turn raises revenue from its multi-trillion dollar bond portfolio."
Trump Wants To Restrict Food Stamps
WH wants to decide what food SNAP recipients will get. NPR: "Under the proposal, which was announced Monday, low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month — just over 80 percent of all SNAP recipients — would get about half of their benefits in the form of a 'USDA Foods package.' The package was described in the budget as consisting of 'shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.' The boxes would not include fresh fruits or vegetables. Currently, SNAP beneficiaries get money loaded onto an EBT card they can use to buy what they want as long as it falls under the guidelines. The administration says the move is a 'cost-effective approach' with "no loss in food benefits to participants."