Tuesday, May 02, 2017

US budget bill an indication of Trump's lowered expectations

In a measure of the depths to which the Trump administration has fallen, they are hailing the upcoming budget legislation - which still remains to be actually voted on, but which is widely agreed on in its essentials - as a "bipartisan win for the American people".
Its significance is that it will be the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to be actually passed during Trump's now more than 100 days in office. But it's worth a look at just how successful the spending bill actually is.
First and firemost, by agreeing something, anything, Mr. Trump has avoided the spectre of an embarassing government shut-down. It also includes $85 billion towards strengthening the US military, although that is much less than he was asking for.
But Trump's calls for substantial cuts in domestic spending on medical research, the Environmental Protection Agency and infrastructure grants, were all rejected. And, significantly, his signature call for a Mexican border wall was rejected out of hand. In fact, Democrat politicians are also calling this a win for the American people, so none of the two must be lying or exaggerating.
The bill receives its final vote on Wednesday, and then the whole thing will happen again in October when another budget bill is negotiated. But it's interesting to see just how much the Republicans have pared back their expectations, when faced with the reality of governing.

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