Mar 16, 2017

Here comes Trump's "Hard Power" budget

Evan Vucci / AP

The Trump Administration released its first budget blueprint today. The proposal is heavy on defense and border security and light on just about everything else — including, surprisingly, some infrastructure programs.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who briefed White House reporters Wednesday, said we should expect an "America First Budget" and a "Hard Power Budget" as opposed to a "Soft Power Budget."

Between the lines: Hard power over soft power means Trump will bolster the Pentagon at the expense of the State Department.

The highlights:

  • Trump won't balance his first budgets, but the proposal won't add to the already projected $488 billion deficit in fiscal year 2018.
  • Wall funding: A supplemental 2017 request will include $1.5 billion for the wall this year and $2.6 billion for the wall in the 2018 budget. Mulvaney said he didn't know how much of the wall would be built this year — but you can bet it'll end up costing vastly more than these tiny initial requests.
  • Cuts to Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Washington Post's Phil Rucker asked Mulvaney how he squared Trump's campaign promise to help the inner cities with his plans to cut the HUD budget. Mulvaney replied that the President was going after "wasteful programs... programs that simply don't work...and a lot of those are in HUD."
  • Defense budget grows by $54 billion.
  • Homeland Security's budget grows by about 6 percent.
  • A 28 percent funding cut at State. Mulvaney said the budget would protect the "core diplomatic function" of the department but would slash foreign aid spending.
  • Massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. Mulvaney didn't provide numbers, but Axios has already reported the cuts will be somewhere in the ballpark of 25 percent or $2 billion. Trump will gut EPA programs addressing climate change.
  • End of federal funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Politically sensitive cuts: The Administration is trying to preemptively spin some cuts that it knows could be politically damaging. Mulvaney said to expect cuts to infrastructure programs within the Department of Transportation — which would seemingly contradict Trump's promise to be an Infrastructure President; "We believe those programs to be less efficient than the infrastructure package that we're working on for later on this year."

Go deeper

Boris Johnson admitted to hospital as coronavirus symptoms persist

Photo: Ray Tang/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital for tests as a "precautionary step" as his coronavirus symptoms have continued to persist 10 days after testing positive, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.

Why it matters: Johnson was the first major elected leader to test positive for the coronavirus. He was admitted on the same day that Queen Elizabeth II gave a rare televised address to the nation, urging the British people to confront the pandemic with the same "self-discipline" and "resolve" that has defined the country in times of crisis.

Go deeperArrow9 mins ago - World

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,252,265 — Total deaths: 68,413 — Total recoveries: 258,495Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 325,185 — Total deaths: 9.267 — Total recoveries: 16,820Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. Work update: Queen Elizabeth II urges the British people to confront pandemic with "self-discipline" and "resolve" in rare televised address.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Queen Elizabeth addresses U.K. amid coronavirus crisis: "We will meet again"

In a rare televised address on Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II urged the United Kingdom to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with the "self-discipline" and "resolve" that have defined the British people in moments of crisis.

Why it matters: It's just the fifth time that the queen, who traditionally speaks to the nation once a year on Christmas Day, has addressed the British people in this way during her 68-year reign.

Go deeperArrow39 mins ago - World