ST. PAUL, Minn. - The president calls his budget "America First,” a proposal that puts defense first with a $54 billion hike in funding.
“Our budget calls for one of the single largest increases in defense spending history in this country,” Trump said.
But with those increases come other decreases, including some that would hit Minnesota hard. Gov. Mark Dayton says the president's plan "boggles his mind."
“How could anybody responsibly look at legislation that would have that effect on the people of this country?” Dayton said Thursday.
The exact effect is what Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman is now figuring out. His office oversees programs like energy assistance and winterization that help low-income Minnesotans pay their heat bills and fix or replace old furnaces -- just two of dozens of things the president wants to cut.
Most of the 300,000 Minnesotans who use those programs are elderly, veterans or children, and many are in rural areas.
“They are people who can barely afford to pay their heat, let alone the rest of their budget,” Rothman said. “It's a terrible and sad situation.”
Other budgets could also be slashed, including arts, public broadcasting, agriculture and environmental protection, while some would get a boost. The president says he'll also give more funding to homeland security and veteran affairs. But none of the ideas will take effect unless Congress approves.
Local veteran groups say they're encouraged by the increase in military spending, but are waiting for more details on what the president plans to fund.
The Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota, for example, says it hopes any new funds will directly help veterans.