The White House pitched the budget as a tough-but-needed effort to rein in government spending while focusing efforts on defense and core federal programs. Three departments — Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs — would see big budget increases while 15 others face drastic cuts.
"This is the 'America First' budget," said Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. "In fact, we wrote it using the president's own words. We went through his speeches, we went through articles that have been written about his policies, we talked to him, and we wanted to know what his policies were, and we turned those policies into numbers. So you have an 'America First' candidate, you have an 'America First' budget."
The budget, though, isn't likely to be adopted across the board on Capitol Hill, where spending priorities differ from the White House. Congress traditionally writes its own budget — or in recent years, passes updated versions of previous budgets — but does not rely on the president's plan.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, praised the president's blueprint, calling it a "solid step" toward slowing spending that is driving the national debt higher.
"Many of the programs eliminated by Trump's budget can and should be financed by state and local entities, and Trump should be commended for making some of the tough calls necessary to move our country in a direction of solvency, with the principle of federalism in mind," Lee said, adding that while foreign investments are often "noble," the focus should be on pressing domestic needs.
While the president's budget message touts his plan as one that doesn't expand the federal deficit, it doesn't shrink it either — plowing all of the savings from program cuts into defense and security increases, including initial money for a border wall between the United States and Mexico and restoring funds to license Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a storage site for high-level nuclear waste.
As part of Trump's budget, the Air Force fleet would add F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, although no numbers are spelled out, to "counter the growing number of complex threats from sophisticated state actors and transnational terrorist groups."
The F-35 is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program ever, with the fighters — even with higher-volume production cost savings — going for just under $100 million per copy.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, applauded the budget as containing "bold and creative solutions."
"This framework is a positive start," he said in a statement. "I look forward to building on these ideas through the budget process and our committee's work."
In other ways, though, the budget would divert federal money flows that directly impact Utah as Trump proposes eliminating many federal grant programs — a move that could starve subsidy-based initiatives for art, research and low-income housing. Education programs and transit projects could also take hits.
Margaret Peterson, who directs after-school programming for 23 public schools in West Valley City, cringes at the president's call to kill the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports academic enrichment for primarily low-income students.
The West Valley City school programs that Peterson oversees have collectively received roughly $850,000 each year from the federal program since 2009, with the money going toward tutoring, parenting classes and juvenile-delinquency prevention workshops for the 5,000 students who participate. Without the funding, those after-school initiatives would evaporate and 350 employees, she said, would lose their jobs.
Statewide, some $2 million annually funnels through the program.
"The impact of losing these funds is devastating," Peterson warned.