NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy reacted to President Trump’s 2020 budget proposal just before he met with White House staffers Monday (March 11) over Trump’s recent emergency declaration for funds to boost security along the border.
“President Trump’s budget puts us on a path to balance the federal budget in 15 years,” said Cassidy, a Republican.
Congressional Democrats said the budget, which proposes cutting $2.7 trillion in non-defense spending over a decade, will not be approved.
"I think it’s part of the budgetary process where you ask and then you negotiate,” said Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.
The president’s budget calls for $8.6 billion to pay for additional miles of barriers at the southern border.
“This a crisis we must stop,” Cassidy said. “If you ask any mother whose child has died of an opioid overdose if there is a crisis at the southern border, they would say yes.”
Dillard University political analyst Robert Collins said he does not believe Trump will get what he wants.
"I don’t think he’s going to be able to get the full amount of funding through no matter what happens, so I imagine he put the border wall funding in there as a ploy to negotiate for some other issues,” Collins said.
The full Senate is expected to vote this week on a measure that would block the emergency declaration and Cassidy said he is not sure whether he will side with the president, or with lawmakers who say the declaration sets a bad precedent.
"I can’t tell you how I’m going to vote because I don’t yet know the piece of legislation that I’m voting on, but I continue to look at the issue. We want to build the wall,” Cassidy said.
Trump has promised to veto the measure if it reaches his desk.
“He will veto it,” Collins said. “He’ll send it back to them and then it’s going to set up another showdown, now I don’t expect we’ll have another government shutdown, that tends to hurt the president more than it hurts Congress.”
While the president’s proposed budget increases resources to fight the opioid epidemic in the U.S., it also cuts dollars for Medicare over a 10-year period, which Cassidy said is meant to “control the rate” of Medicare spending.
"I’m a doc, I know that lest we decrease the cost of medical services, Medicare will go bankrupt. This budget attempts to decrease the cost of those medical services, and by so doing, preserves the life of Medicare,” Cassidy said.
Collins said the proposal is bound to draw criticism from the public.
"That’s probably the most puzzling part in this budget, because polling shows that Medicare is actually very popular with everyone, even with Republicans, so even members of his base,” Collins said.
He added that such an idea will serve as ammunition for Democrats to use against the president.
"Basically, he’s giving the Democratic presidential candidates an issue to run against him with,” Collins said.
Cassidy agrees that the budget will be amended in Congress.