President Trump's budget proposal was destined to meet with Democratic naysaying. In a hyper-partisan era presided over by a historically unpopular and controversial Republican president, rejecting the budget of said POTUS is an easy choice for Democrats. Still, they probably didn't anticipate just how easy Trump would make it for them. Between massive cuts to the State Department and the wholesale shuttering of more than a dozen agencies, Trump hasn't just turned the entire opposition party against him. He's also lost the support of many congressional Republicans regarding Trump's budget proposal. And that's bad news for the White House, since GOP representatives and senators now control the budget process.
Trump's budget defunds no fewer than 19 programs in their entirety. Some of them are small, regional organizations that won't cause nationwide teeth-gnashing over their demise. But others, such as the National Endowment for the Arts and funding for Meals on Wheels, have broad public support and approval. In addition, some of the smaller agencies happen to be in struggling rural areas, aka Trump territory. And congressional Republicans in general are not happy about the huge budget cuts to the State Department.
Here are some of the prominent GOP congresspeople who have rejected Trump's proposed budget:
Defense budget proposed today will not be sufficient to stem damage inflicted by yrs of budget cuts under Obama WH https://t.co/xW6jJQJuNm— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 16, 2017
McCain was unhappy with the amount of defense spending proposed by Trump's budget, saying more money is needed to supply the military "sufficient funds to rebuild."
The Florida senator and former Trump rival released a statement that specifically criticized cuts to the State Department, saying those "programs are integral to our national security, and cuts at these levels undermine America’s ability to keep our citizens safe."
Like several other Republicans, Collins referenced cuts to the National Institute of Health as a particularly problematic aspect of Trump's budget.
The representative from Kentucky had some of the harshest criticism on record for Trump's proposal, calling it "careless," "draconian," and "counterproductive."
"A $54 billion trade from domestic to defense spending — and I consider myself a defense hawk — I think that some of the cuts are a little drastic in certain places," said Stivers. The representative from Ohio also stated that Trump's proposed budget "is not our starting point."
Lucas, a representative from Oklahoma, is concerned about cuts to the agricultural sector. "I respect the president for making tough choices. But I need my county [Farm Service Agency] offices, and I need to make sure we have the ability to feed ourselves and make sure nobody goes hungry."
Historically, presidential budgets do not fare well with Congress.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 16, 2017
"What's most disturbing about the cut in the State Department's budget, it shows a lack of understanding what it takes to win the war," Graham said, responding to Trump's massive cuts to foreign aid and the State Department. Graham also said the proposed budget "would be a disaster."
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen of Miami said Trump's budget was "dead on arrival." She told reporters Thursday, "I'm especially concerned about cuts to programs for legal aid to the poor, Meals on Wheels services for the elderly, and less resources for the protection of our precious environment."
The Ohio senator is against Trump's cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is working toward cleaning up the Great Lakes and ensuring their native ecosystems are preserved. Said Sen. Portman, "I have long championed this program, and I'm committed to continuing to do everything I can to protect and preserve Lake Erie, including preserving this critical program and its funding."
As a member of the House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Mark Meadows was hoping for greater entitlement reform in the budget.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway is not happy with proposed cuts to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The representative from Texas stated, "America's farmers and ranchers are struggling, and we need to be extremely careful not to exacerbate these conditions."
Like McCain, Thornberry voiced concerns that the proposed military spending in Trump's budget does not go far enough.
The Republican representative from New York said she had concerns about Trump's budget cuts to the State Department, the Department of Education, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The congressman for New Jersey's seventh district released a statement on Trump's budget, saying, "I do not agree with each and every line item." Specifically, Lance referenced cuts to the Department of Justice and the National Endowment of the Arts, calling such moves "penny wise but pound foolish."
15Shelley Moore Capito
Sen. Capito voiced her specific opposition to defunding the Appalachian Regional Commission, with a spokesperson highlighting the program's vital role in "redeveloping economically distressed regions of West Virginia, especially the coal communities that have been devastated by years of regulatory overreach."
Heller, Republican senator from Nevada, held little back in tearing into a line item in Trump's budget proposal that would reinstate a nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain, saying: "Washington needs to understand what Nevada has been saying for years: we will not be the nation’s nuclear waste dump. This project was ill-conceived from the beginning and has already flushed billions of taxpayer dollars down the drain."
While these represent just 16 of several hundred Republican congresspeople, it's likely that many more will join the budget criticism in coming days and weeks. Clearly, Republican priorities are not the same as Democrats', but both parties do seem to agree that this budget proposal is deeply problematic.