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It’s time to ask world to step up, pay fair share: Trump

Washington: Proposing “deep cuts” in the US’ foreign aid, President Donald Trump today said it is time to ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share.

Proposing a massive USD 54 billion increase in the military budget of the US, more than India’s annual military budget, Trump in his maiden budget proposals to the Congress has requested a USD 54 billion in reductions to non-Defence programs.

“We are going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people. This includes deep cuts to foreign aid. It is time to prioritise the security and well-being of Americans, and to ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share,” the president said in his message to the Congress.

Unlike many parliamentary democracies like India and the UK wherein the finance minister personally delivers speech on the floor of the Parliament, in the US, the White House sends hard copies of the president’s budget proposals. Trump is currently on a nine-day maiden foreign trip.

“Many other government agencies and departments will also experience cuts. These cuts are sensible and rational. Every agency and department will be driven to achieve greater efficiency and to eliminate wasteful spending in carrying out their honourable service to the American people,” Trump said in his message to the Congress.

Trump said that the core of his first Budget Blueprint is the rebuilding of nation’s military without adding to the federal deficit.

“There is an increase of USD 54 billion in defence spending in 2018 that is offset by targeted reductions elsewhere. This defence funding is vital to rebuilding and preparing our armed forces for the future.

“We must ensure that our courageous servicemen and women have the tools they need to deter war, and when called upon to fight, do only one thing: Win. In these dangerous times, this public safety and national security budget blueprint is a message to the world – a message of American strength, security and resolve,” Trump said.

Trump said his budget reprioritises federal spending so that it advances the safety and security of Americans.

“Our aim is to meet the simple, but crucial demand of our citizens — a government that puts the needs of its own people first. When we do that, we will set free the dreams of every American, and we will begin a new chapter of American greatness,” he said.

Titled ‘A New Foundation for American Greatness’, the budget seeks USD 1.5 trillion in non-defence discretionary cuts and USD 1.4 trillion in Medicaid cuts over the course of a decade. It adds nearly half a trillion dollars to defence spending.

Trump said his Budget blueprint for 2018 provides for one of the largest increases in defence spending without increasing the debt; and significantly increases the budget for immigration enforcement at the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security.

It includes additional resources for a wall on the southern border with Mexico, immigration judges, expanded detention capacity, US Attorneys, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Border Patrol.

The budget increases funding to address violent crime and reduces opioid abuse; and puts America first by keeping more of America’s hard-earned tax dollars here at home, Trump said.

The US Congress would now debate on the various aspects of the 2018 annual budget beginning October 1. It would take several months before the annual budget is passed by the House and the Senate and finally signed into law by the US president.

—PTI