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Inside Trump’s Proposed $4.7 Trillion Budget Request

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s $4.7 trillion budget request proposes steep cuts to domestic spending, a funding boost for the Pentagon and $8.6 billion for his signature border wall with Mexico. Leading Democrats immediately rejected the plan, signaling another bruising fight just weeks after a standoff that led to a 35-day partial government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.

A look at the highlights from the White House proposal.

BORDER WALL FIGHT RENEWED

Trump’s proposal for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 includes $8.6 billion to build the U.S-Mexico border wall. The proposal shows Trump is eager to renew his confrontation with Congress over the wall, a centerpiece of his agenda that congressional Democrats have staunchly resisted.

The budget request for more than 300 miles of new border wall would more than double the $8.1 billion potentially available to the president for the wall after Trump declared a national emergency at the border last month. The politically contentious declaration would circumvent Congress, although there’s no guarantee Trump will be able to use the money in the face of a legal challenge from California and other states. Lawmakers from both parties oppose the emergency declaration, but Congress appears to lack a veto-proof margin to block Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Trump “was forced to admit defeat” after Congress refused to fund the wall in the current budget, and they predicted a similar outcome if he continues to press for money for the wall. Money targeted for the wall “would be better spent on rebuilding America,” they said.

BIG BOOST FOR DEFENSE, CUTS IN DOMESTIC SPENDING

TRUMP 2020 BUDGET

Trump’s budget proposes increasing defense spending to $750 billion — and building the new Space Force as a military branch — while reducing nondefense accounts by 5 percent. The $2.7 trillion in proposed domestic spending cuts over the next decade is higher than any administration in history. Proposed cuts include economic safety-net programs used by millions of Americans.

To stay within prescribed budget caps, the proposal shifts about $165 billion in defense spending to an overseas contingency fund, an action critics view as an accounting gimmick.

RED INK FLOWS

Under Trump’s proposal, the budget deficit is projected to hit $1.1 trillion next year — the highest in a decade. The administration is counting on robust economic growth, including from the 2017 Republican tax cuts, to push down the red ink. Some economists say the economic bump from the tax cuts is waning, and they project slower growth in coming years. The national debt is $22 trillion.

Even with his own projections, Trump’s budget would not come into balance for a decade and a half, rather than the traditional hope of balancing in 10 years.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, warned that the debt load will lead to slower income growth and stalled opportunities for Americans.

ENVIRONMENTAL SPENDING SLASHED

Trump again is asking Congress to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by about a third, a request that Congress has previously rejected. The budget request seeks $6.1 billion for the EPA, down 31 percent from current spending. The White House says it aims to ensure clean air and water and chemical safety, while “reducing regulatory burden and eliminating lower-priority activities.”

But Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group says it would work to appease Trump’s political base and boost the fossil fuel and chemical industries.

REPEALING OBAMACARE — AGAIN

The budget request would re-open two health care battles Trump already lost in his first year in office: repealing “Obamacare” and limiting future federal spending on Medicaid for low-income people. Under the budget, major sections of both the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid would be turned over to the states starting in 2021.

With Democrats in charge of the House, Trump’s grand plan has no chance of being enacted. And few Republican lawmakers want to be dragged into another health care fight.

EDUCATION CUT, SCHOOL CHOICE EXPANDED

The budget request would cut Education Department funding by 10 percent while expanding money for school choice, school safety and apprenticeship programs. The $64 billion proposal would eliminate 29 programs, including a $2 billion program meant to help schools improve instruction and a $1.2 billion program to create community centers.

Meanwhile, it would add $60 million for charter schools and $200 million for school safety initiatives.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says the plan would end programs better handled at the state or local level. She also proposed up to $5 billion in federal tax credits to support school choice scholarships.

MORE CHOICE FOR VETERANS

The White House is seeking just over $93 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, an increase of $6.5 billion from current spending.

The request would support implementation of a law Trump signed last year to give veterans more freedom to see doctors outside the troubled VA system, a major shift aimed at reducing wait times and improving care by steering more patients to the private sector. The plan again targets reducing veteran suicides as a top priority and sets aside $4.3 billion to improve the department’s computer system and website.

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Mississippi Governor Signs One of America’s Strictest Abortion Laws In The Nation, Welcomes Lawsuits

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Mississippi’s governor has signed one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation.

Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Thursday outlawing most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks into pregnancy.

The Center for Reproductive Rights calls the bill “blatantly unconstitutional” and says it will sue Mississippi to block the bill from taking effect July 1.

Mississippi is one of several states where Republican leaders are considering abortion-restriction bills this year. Abortion opponents are emboldened by new conservatives on the Supreme Court and are seeking cases to challenge the court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Bryant tweeted that he will fight for “innocent babies, even under the threat of legal action.”

Developing story, more to come…

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Oil/Gas Drilling Blocked On Federal Land In Wyoming Over Climate Change

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A federal judge has temporarily blocked oil and gas drilling on 300,000 acres of federal land in Wyoming, ruling that the Interior Department “did not sufficiently consider climate change” in its assessments of whether to lease federal land for individual projects, the Washington Post reports.


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge has blocked oil and gas drilling on almost 500 square miles (1,295 sq. kilometers) in Wyoming and says the government must consider the cumulative climate change impact of leasing public lands across the U.S. for oil and gas exploration.

The order marks the latest in a string of rulings over the past decade faulting the U.S. for its inadequate consideration of greenhouse gas emissions when issuing leases for oil, gas and coal.

But U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras appeared to go a step further than previous rulings. Contreras said late Tuesday the U.S. Bureau of Land Management must consider nationwide emissions from past, present and future oil and gas leases.

The ruling was in a lawsuit challenging leases issued in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado in 2015 and 2016.

Developing story, more to come…

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Men Caught Allegedly Selling Untraceable AR-15 ‘Ghost Guns’ in New Jersey

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Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos NJ AG Offfice / Getty

Four men were arrested and charged in New Jersey on Monday for allegedly conspiring to sell untraceable assault rifles assembled from online kits known as “ghost guns,” authorities said.

It’s the first time people have been charged under a new state law that makes it illegal to buy, build, or sell these often plastic, but deadly firearms. The “ghost guns” were ordered online without serial numbers and came with instructions on how to finish them to be functional firearms, authorities said. They were allegedly sold for $1,100 to $1,300 each—twice the price of a legal assault rifle.

“Assault rifles like these pose an especially deadly threat to law enforcement, innocent bystanders, and others when placed in the wrong hands, and suffice it to say no one conducted any background checks here,”  Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a Monday press conference. “They are not registered. They don’t have serial numbers and they are sold without any background check process whatsoever.

In what authorities call “a landmark investigation,” the four men were among a dozen arrested in connection with a cocaine trafficking operation, who allegedly thousands of dollars worth of drugs, New Jersey authorities said.  

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