President Donald Trump’s $4.4 trillion budget proposal, which increases spending on the military while cutting other branches of the federal government and increasing the deficit and national debt, is getting a mixed reception from the Florida delegation on Capitol Hill as some Republicans have said they have problems with it.
After the budget proposal was released on Monday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., applauded the Trump administration for focusing on infrastructure, border security and the military but said he was still reviewing the entire proposal.
"America desperately needs to invest in our infrastructure. The administration has put forth an innovative approach as a starting point. We look forward to working with them to craft a plan that addresses our nation’s critical infrastructure needs in a fiscally responsible manner,” Rubio said on Monday.
"While it is Congress that funds the nation’s policy priorities, I am encouraged to see the President’s budget also support efforts to strengthen border security, combat the opioid epidemic, rebuild our military and improve health services for veterans,” Rubio added. "I will continue to review the details of this budget proposal for areas of common interest."
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., increasingly an ally of the Trump White House, also cheered parts of the proposal.
“President Trump’s budget shows his administration’s tremendous commitment to America’s national defense,” Gaetz said. “It provides robust funding for our military, including training, as well as a much-deserved pay raise for our troops. It helps protect America’s border from an influx of crime and drugs, by funding the border wall, hiring thousands of new ICE agents, and increasing the capacity and number of detention facilities for those who attempt to enter the country illegally.”
But Gaetz also called out the proposed budget on a number of issues.
“The budget falls short in fiscal responsibility,” Gaetz insisted. “This budget continues too much of Washington’s wasteful spending — it does not balance in ten years, and it creates a deficit of over a trillion dollars next year. We must do more to curb Washington’s terrible spending habits. We cannot steal from America’s future to pay for spending today.
“Last year, I pushed for reforms to mandatory spending programs, the largest drivers of America’s debt,” Gaetz continued. “One common-sense reform, supported by a majority of Americans, is work requirements for welfare — a simple proposal that will save American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year, and lift millions out of welfare into the dignity and fulfillment of work. My efforts were successful, and work requirements were included in the House Budget Committee’s budget — a fiscally-responsible plan that cut more than two hundred billion dollars from bloated Washington spending programs. Unfortunately, the Senate budget did not include any of our common-sense reforms, and continued America’s unsustainable trajectory toward the edge of a fiscal cliff. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Budget Committee once more, and to developing a budget that restores fiscal sanity to Washington, DC. I applaud the president for taking care of our troops, enhancing our national security, and keeping America safe; now Congress must work to keep America fiscally safe, and rein in America’s excessive mandatory spending.”
Gaetz wasn’t the only Republican from Florida who had problems with Trump’s proposal.
“Today’s budget proposal from the administration is certainly not reflective of the direction our federal government resources should take,” said U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla. “From significant reductions to agencies needed to protect our environment and combat the threats of climate change and sea level rise, to cuts to Community Block Grants that assist in disaster recovery, this budget abandons progress already made on any programs that enjoy bipartisan support.
“I am, however, encouraged by his prioritizing of our national infrastructure,” Curbelo added. “While the exact amount still needs to be negotiated and studied, our airports, roads, bridges, waterways, ports and railways are long overdue for modernization and will require a significant investment. I also welcome the much-needed investment in the Internal Revenue Service as they work toward implementing the historic tax reform legislation passed last year, and maintained funding for the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
“As the House looks to begin its own budget and appropriations process, my colleagues and I will work to ensure many of these programs remain adequately funded,” Curbelo concluded. “As I've done in the past, I’m committed to standing together to advocate for the many bipartisan priorities of our Florida delegation such as funding for transportation projects, the Florida Keys Water Quality Improvement Program, disaster relief, and Everglades Restoration.”
Democrats from the Sunshine State were far more hostile with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., hitting the proposal for cutting funds to explore space and continue the International Space Station.
“The administration’s budget for NASA is a nonstarter,” Nelson said. “If we’re ever going to get to Mars with humans on board and return them safely, then we need a larger funding increase for NASA. The proposal would also end support for the International Space Station in 2025 and make deep cuts to popular education and science programs. Turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space at a time when we’re pushing the frontiers of exploration makes no sense.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., also took aim at Trump’s proposal.
“The Trump budget dumps the costs of his tax cuts for giant corporations squarely on the middle class and those still struggling to get there, while continuing to leave much of the tab for the next generation,” she said. “This cruel proposal threatens the health care of seniors, children, people with disabilities, and low-income families. Millions of Americans would be stripped of food on their tables, heat and air conditioning in their homes, and educational opportunities for their futures. At the same time, the president’s infrastructure plan falls drastically short of the promises he has made to create jobs and boost the economy. This budget is a wish list for Wall Street and the wealthy. Instead, as a member of both the Appropriations and Budget Committees, I will work with my colleagues to enact responsible investments which meet the true needs and adhere to the true values of all Americans.”