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Crapo: Trump budget calls for ‘dramatic cuts’ affecting Idahoans, communities

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo speaks during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill on March 20, 2017. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo said, while there’s “significant agreement” that the nation needs to bring the federal budget into balance, the budget proposal released Tuesday by President Donald Trump calls for “dramatic cuts to programs affecting Idahoans and its communities.”

“As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I will work with my colleagues to strike a fair balance between funding necessary programs and the need to reduce ongoing deficit spending,” Crapo said in a statement.

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch said Trump’s budget proposal is “merely a blueprint of his administration’s priorities,” and said it’s “solely Congress’ responsibility to set our nation’s budget and appropriate funds.” As the House and Senate work through that process, Risch said, “I will continue to advocate for Idaho’s most pressing priorities.”

Asked what Risch meant by “Idaho’s most pressing priorities,” his press secretary, Kaylin Minton, said, “There are many ongoing issues in Idaho such as wildfire prevention and management, SRS (the Secure Rural Schools program), PILT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes), and INL (the Idaho National Laboratory), to name a few.” Trump is proposing big cuts in funding to all of those.

Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson, who serves on the key House Appropriations Committee, said he and his colleagues on the committee will “scrutinize the request and hold hearings with administration officials to inform our line-by-line funding decisions.” He added, “This is the responsibility entrusted to the Congress by the Constitution, and we take that obligation very seriously.”

Simpson also made it clear that he didn’t view the Trump proposal as the answer to the nation’s debt problem. “The administration deserves credit for taking our nation’s fiscal crisis seriously,” he said, “but I hope that in the coming years we can begin the conversation on addressing the real drivers of our debt, which remain untouched by the yearly appropriations process. Mandatory programs remain on autopilot and continue to grow, dwarfing all other government programs in terms of spending. That is why I will continue to advocate for ‘going big’ with a package of spending cuts paired with tax and entitlement reform, as it is the only way we will truly put our country back on solid fiscal footing.”

Idaho 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador, who is running for governor in 2018, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the budget proposal.

All four members of Idaho’s congressional delegation are Republicans.