GOP budget chair dismisses Trump's plan as 'just a list of suggestions'

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Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi noted the 'power of the purse rests with Congress.'

A key Senate Republican is already dismissing Donald Trump's proposed fiscal year 2021 budget, hours after it was released.

The $4.8 trillion proposal has so far received bipartisan criticism for its cuts to the social safety net and other major programs and for its massive increases to the national debt.

Republican Sen. Mike Enzi (WY), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, specifically said in a statement Monday that Trump's proposal will likely go nowhere, waving off his wishlist items as merely "suggestions."

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"Presidents' budgets are a reflection of Administration priorities, but in the end, they are just a list of suggestions, as the power of the purse rests with Congress," Enzi wrote. "Bipartisan consensus will be necessary to bring our debt and deficits under control. I hope to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put our country on a more sustainable fiscal course."

Though Trump ran on promises of balanced budgets and elimination of the entire national debt by 2024, the deficit has grown to $1 trillion annually and the national debt is at a historic high. A senior administration official told Fox Business on Sunday that even if the economy stays strong, this budget proposal will not lead to a balanced budget until 2035.

Trump's budget plan includes cuts to Social Security disability benefits and Medicaid, as well as food stamps, farm subsidies, and student loans.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly promised not to make any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, while claiming his Democratic and Republican opponents were going to slash the programs. On Saturday, Trump said, "We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget. Only the Democrats will destroy them by destroying our Country’s greatest ever Economy!"

Enzi has previously raised warning flags about Trump's budgets and their massive expansion of the national debt, despite voting for Trump's 2017 tax bill, which exploded the deficit by an estimated $1 trillion over a decade.

Other Republicans echoed Enzi's attempts this week to frame Trump's budget as little more than a casual suggestion that will not become law.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), a Trump loyalist, said Monday, "Each year the President delivers his budget then Congress gets to work on its own. The Admin’s 2021 Budget contains several provisions I do not agree with. This includes cuts to our military's intelligence gathering resources for which protect our troops & global interests."

Rep. Rick Crawford, another staunch Trump ally, said in a radio interview on Monday that Congress "doesn't adopt presidential budgets" automatically.

"It just never happens," he said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.