President Trump unveils big, real cuts to the EPA, State Department and elsewhere Thursday in his first budget. Will this make movement conservatives who have dismissed him as a big government Trojan Horse shut up? Probably not. But they can’t name the last budget under George Bush (either), Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, or Paul Ryan which took a real knife to spending.
Sure, the GOP has been thumping their chests about balanced budgets and nondescript, across the board cuts for decades, but this stuff would make even Ronald Reagan salivate. Even EPA nemesis, now Secretary Scott Pruitt got taken down from a $7 million request to $5.7 million.
The question is, will self-described fiscal hawks like Paul Ryan have the guts to codify any of this? Trump’s plan doesn’t balance the budget, but doesn’t increase the deficit, per his OMB director. Here’s a Washington Post graphic that spells it out.
Senate Democrats threaten to shut the government down – ironically, and Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell have complained about State Department cuts. But nobody has gone so big and so bold like this. Even Rand Paul told minorities in Ferguson he’s increase jobs training programs and pay for it with prison reform. Cuts to public broadcasting and the arts have come and gone for decades. Can you name the budget items on the line for Republicans for any of their previous head fakes at shutdown? I can’t. They caved for far less than this.
Donald Trump is giving Congressional Republicans a chance to repair the brand badly damaged by Bush and others. Will Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the rest seize upon that? Or, as Rush Limbaugh suggests, will this be torpedoed by yet another bipartisan effort by DC establishment to effectively end the Presidency of Donald Trump?
If not cut these things, then what? If not now, then when?
If nothing else, Trump’s budget will shove health care reform out of the news cycle. Paul Ryan should be thankful for that.