RUSH: The president submitted his budget. Now, just so you know, folks, I’m not trying to throw cold water on anything, but presidents don’t do budgets. House of Representatives does the budget and then the Senate does a budget and they get together with each other, and if things are hunky-dory, they have their conference committee, and they get together and they come up with a budget.
Now, we haven’t done this in a number of years ’cause the Democrats have not wanted to be bound by a budget. We have been doing things via continuing resolutions and the regularly scheduled expansion of the debt limit. The Democrats have not wanted to be bound by budgets because they haven’t wanted any limits on their spending. This was a classic mode of behavior during most of the Obama administration, and the Republicans didn’t have the numbers to stop it. Then when they did have the numbers to stop it, they didn’t have the will or the wherewithal to stop it.
So we got into esoteric arguments like the sequester and a bunch of stuff that nobody can understand, which is done on purpose. And with each continuing resolution, the left would get something that the Republicans and conservatives had promised to stop. And with each continuing resolution, the Republicans would tell us, their voters, “You know what? We can’t stop this right now. We can’t let the government go into default. We can’t have a government shutdown. So we’ll kick this can down the road. We’ll deal with this the next time this comes up.”
That went on for years, and I’m sure by my mentioning it, you remember it now. And with every continuing resolution, which is at varying length, when each one was approaching its end came the specter of a government shutdown, and it always ended up being the Republicans’ fault. So the next continuing resolution had to be authorized and it had to be approved. This is how Obama succeeded in doubling the national debt, almost, in about eight years.
There weren’t budgets. There certainly weren’t any cuts, other than the sequester, but there wasn’t any budget discipline because there weren’t any budgets. The United States fiscal year starts October 1st, so calendar year, it’s the fourth quarter, where the government’s first quarter begins, fiscal year, October 1st. October, November, December is the government’s first fiscal quarter. The president presents a budget, but it doesn’t mean anything.
I mean, during Reagan’s presidency every year the Reagan budget was pronounced DOA by Tip O’Neill and Tom Foley and whoever else was over in the Senate. DOA, dead on arrival. The Reagan budget was going to cut taxes for the rich, raise taxes on the poor. The rich were gonna get richer, the poor were gonna get poorer. The homeless were gonna run out of cans of whole pork and beans and all this horror stuff. And that has been the Democrat policy, theory of dealing with presidentially submitted budgets as long as I’ve been alive.
Even Obama’s budget was proclaimed DOA practically every year. Presidents are required to submit a budget. They’ve got a director of the Office of Management and Budget. And they are allowed to participate in the crafting of the budget, but actual spending is constitutionally mandated to begin in the House of Representatives, the only way money can officially be spent. It has to be authorized in a budget or a supplemental from the House of Representatives and in many ways it’s the Ways and Means Committee which starts most of that. That’s constitutional.
So the president submits his budget, and it becomes a blueprint of what he wants, but it don’t carry any weight unless he has the muscle and the party support in Congress to work together with his Republican majority to craft a budget that Trump wants.
Now, Trump clearly has a Republican majority. He’s got a vast majority in the House. He’s got a, what, two-seat, four-seat majority in the Senate, but of course they don’t have 60 votes, which is their fallback excuse for doing nothing in the Senate. So Trump has submitted his budget. And Trump will be able to say, whether this budget of his gets close, doesn’t stand a chance, whether it becomes law, Trump will be able to say that he kept his promise.
He campaigned on specific things as president, and you can see a lot of them in this budget. This Trump budget is awesome. It eliminates the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is NPR and public TV, just wipes it out. It eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has drastic cuts at the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is the home, I guess, you would say of foreign aid.
The budget proposes to eliminate funding for the African Development Foundation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Chemical Safety Board, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Delta Regional Authority, the Denali Commission, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Inter-American Foundation, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, the Northern Border Regional Commission, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the United States Institute of Peace, which is a redundant agency. We already have that. It’s call the Department of Defense.
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Just zap it. And the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. That is a think tank. That’s where guys that are pro-Palestinian do their official thinking. Every one of these pro-Palestinian, pro-Arab guys in the Middle Eastern conflict works over there. So these are just some of the things that are just eliminated, just zapped. CPB, Corporation Public Broadcasting, National Endowment of the Arts, the Humanities, all that. And a massive cut to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is where foreign aid is.
Now, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate has already reacted. He disagrees strenuously with cuts in foreign aid. But Trump is going to be able to say that he kept his promise. He has submitted a budget that has cuts all over it that we’ve been told for years are impossible. For as long as I have been doing this program, when it comes to reducing government spending, the retort has always been, “Well, I mean, Rush, there’s not enough discretionary spending. Even if you did start cutting, it wouldn’t make enough of a difference because, Rush, over 60% of the federal budget’s entitlements,” and you can’t cut entitlements, like Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, you can’t cut those, so 60% of the budget’s already off-limits.
And that remaining 40%, called the discretionary spending, there’s not enough there to make any significant difference. So the retort always was you really can’t cut anything. Well, here comes Donald Trump, and he has slashed a lot, and he’s taking deep percentages from many cabinets. The EPA gets sliced and diced and everything they’re doing, vast majority of anything the EPA is doing with climate change is gone.
It is a fabulous budget. It is a budget that every one of you who voted for Trump expected him to deliver. And Trump will be able to say he kept his promise. Now, the odds of Trump’s budget being passed, well, take a look at the success they’re having with Obamacare repeal and replace and you get an idea what this is gonna be. Because, once again, Trump is up against establishment types who want Big Government, who want all these agencies, who want the power that accompanies being able to dole out this money.
They want the power. The job many elected officials claim to have is spending money. That’s the gig. And the more the better. That’s why the budget never does get smaller, just like what all of them say, so it’s gonna be another test. Can the president, with his force of will and his negotiating talents and skills, can he force the Republicans in Congress in the House, in the Senate to agree with him on this budget, and then if that happens then how are they gonna deal with the Democrats who of course are gonna be opposing this at every turn.
And the Democrats in the House can’t stop the Republicans in the House because there’s a clear Republican majority, but over in the Senate it remains a different story, 60 votes. But then you can say, “But, Rush, but, Rush, what about budget reconciliation?” Well, yeah, if our guys happen to be like Obama and the Democrats who really wanted Obamacare no matter what they had to do, it won’t be long before we find out what true Republican sentiment is on genuine reductions in the size of government, which can be measured by genuine reductions in the amount of money government spends.
RUSH: The State Department budget cut is 28%, just to get the number out there — 28% — and that includes the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is the… I guess they call it the collection agency or the great disseminator of foreign aid. Foreign aid is not that much money. You can eliminate the foreign aid budget and it’s a rounding error. It’s the principle of foreign aid that has people upset, but in terms of the dollars that are spent on it, it’s chump change compared to… I mean, it’s not much more than the National Endow…
Well, $15 billion to $20 billion is what foreign aid is, maybe $50 billion by now. It’s not a huge budget item at all. But when you cut it, it’s a political statement, and it is a… You know, Trump has a foreign policy that’s much like one I articulated years ago. You have your foreign policy and your foreign aid, and you have an excrement list. And you don’t want to get on the excrement list. If you’re a foreign country, you don’t want to be on that list. And the way you get on it is you say bad things about America.
You don’t appreciate America, you undermine America, you work against America; you get on the excrement list. And once you’re on it, you’re on it for five years. And the only way you can get off of it is by loving us and supporting us for five years. And then you get back on the foreign aid budget. And that, to me… Means testing, whatever you want to call it. But it seems if we’re gonna start giving away money, there ought to be something we get for it, and that has been the case for the longest time. Well, Trump’s budget contains things like that in it.