WASHINGTON D.C. - Democrats in New York's congressional delegation aren't giving much weight to President Donald Trump's budget proposal, which calls for trillions of dollars in cuts to education, health, and environmental programs.
"He's in another world," Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) said Tuesday about Trump's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2020. "The president doesn't get it."
The budget is an annual affair in Washington, but this year the process is a bit rocky after a prolonged fight over border funding that led to a historic 35-day government shutdown.
One of the biggest headlines from the budget shows another battle over the Trump border wall is brewing once again. The president is requesting $8.6 billion for the construction of hundreds of miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last month, Congress signed off only on a little more than $1 billion.
"When we negotiated the last budget, bipartisan, Sen. [Richard] Shelby and myself, we put in $1.3 billion. So now he wants us to go up to $8 billion? I don't know what he's thinking," Lowey remarked.
Other concerns among the majority of New York Democrats include a noticeable absence in the form of a lack of funding for the Gateway Project, a project for critical repairs to the Hudson River rail tunnel.
"It's a shame that the White House is putting the safety and the ability of people to use transportation in the NEC, putting that underneath their political ambitions," said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.
Other members expressed concerns over (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) SNAP benefits being curtailed, and stricter proposed work requirements in order to be eligible for food stamps.
"The safety net for the most needed. Cutting SNAP to be able to justify [Trump's] tax cut is immoral," said Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY).
The budget proposal calls for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act with proposed cuts in science and medical research funds, of which New York area facilities, lawmakers say, would see a cut in aid.
"These would have very negative impacts on those treatments and clinical trials that are showing great promise toward saving lives and saving money," said Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY).
The proposed 2020 White House budget is worth $4.7 trillion and features a boost in defense spending.
Republicans in the delegation say the president's budget proposal is message to lawmakers with the ultimate responsibilities of appropriation upon with Congress.
"There are those who don't like Trump that will try to make people panic that these cuts will actually occur. They won't and they haven't actually happened under any other president," said Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY). "Other than the fact that our debt keeps going up, which is a real problem for our children and grandchildren, they shouldn't worry about their individual issue not being funded if it was funded last year."
But with the House of Representatives under the control of the Democrats, Lowey summed up the president's budget bluntly: "Completely dead on arrival."