Issue Brief: Long, hot summer in D.C.


Missy HenriksenThis summer, Congress has many difficult challenges ahead. President Trump’s budget proposal is one of the most daunting.

The 2,000-page proposal outlines a $4.1 trillion 2018 budget request. Total spending is projected to be $4.1 trillion while total revenue is projected to be $3.7 trillion, leaving a $440 billion deficit in 2018. The budget also forecasts increasing revenue and more cuts until the year 2027 when there will be a surplus of $16 billion. Still, the gross federal debt is projected to be $25 trillion, which is approximately $5 trillion more than today.

Most in Congress have said the president’s cuts are too drastic. The budget calls for a $250 billion cut in Obamacare subsidies, an additional cut of $610 billion in Medicaid, $38 billion in farm subsidies, $143 billion to student loan subsidies, $93 billion in food stamps, $21 billion in welfare, $40 billion in the Earned Income Tax Credit and $40 billion for child tax credits. It’s hard to imagine Congress making these cuts. President Trump’s budget also recommends $1.6 billion for a border wall, $52 billion more in Pentagon spending and $19 billion for a new paid family leave program. And the forecasts for revenue increases are based on real GDP increases of 3 percent, a tax cut of about $7 trillion (not detailed yet), selling off half of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and privatizing some government functions.

Needless to say, it will be a long, hot summer as Congress juggles these priorities and a full investigation into the Russian influence on our election, while trying to get an Obamacare repeal through the Senate, tax reform through both bodies of Congress and an infrastructure bill.

We will all be busy.

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