On Thursday, the White House released its budget “blueprint,” setting the tone for how President Trump wants to allocate federal spending under his administration.
Though White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney argued that this proposed budget would put “the safety and security of the American people” first, cuts to programs like PBS, climate change research, and the National Endowment for the Arts quickly sparked national controversy.
While it may not be overly shocking that Democrat lawmakers have condemned the budget as devastating, Fox News notes that leading Republicans are making it clear that they, too, are having a hard time getting behind the president's proposals.
While perhaps some of the most blunt criticism has come from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — who called the proposal “a disaster,” among other things — he certainly isn't alone.
For Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), it is cuts targeting the State Department that were most troublesome:
"I do not support the proposed 28 percent cut to our international affairs budget and diplomatic efforts led by the State Department.
These programs are integral to our national security, and cuts at these levels undermine America’s ability to keep our citizens safe."
Other GOP lawmakers have expressed concern about the slashing or elimination of programs that directly benefit their home state constituents.
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), for example, called proposed cuts to the Appalachian Regional Commission — an economic program that serves the residents of 420 counties in 13 states, many of them rural — “draconian, careless and counterproductive.”
For Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) it was the 21% cut to the Agriculture Department that caused him to lash out:
“While we support more funding for our military and defense, we must maintain support for our farmers and ranchers.”
Still, as a number of GOP lawmakers have pointed out, Trump's budget proposal is strictly that — a proposal:
As Sen. Rubio explained:
"The administration’s budget isn’t going to be the budget. We do the budget here.
The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets."
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) made that point even clearer, noting that there's nothing unusual about a president's budget proposal undergoing significant changes:
"I’ve never seen a president’s budget proposal not revised substantially.
As a member of the Budget Committee, I’ll carefully scrutinize and assess priorities as the president has with his proposal."
It should be noted that the president's budget has not been met with universal criticism. Both the conservative Heritage Foundation and the “anti-tax” Club for Growth praised the cuts to federal government spending:
In the end, White House budget chief Mulvaney defended the administration's proposals as one that “simply reallocates and reprioritizes spending as any family or business would do,” arguing that the president is sticking to promises he made to voters long ago.
As Mulvaney said Thursday, Trump's budget proposal “should come as a surprise to no one who watched” the president's campaign.