Trump Administration Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Budget and Healthcare Programs

Holland & Knight LLP

The Trump Administration on Feb. 12 released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget request, titled "An American Budget." Unlike last year's budget, which was released in late May, the release of this budget conforms to the typical budget calendar where the administration presents its budget blueprint to Congress in February ahead of congressional appropriations work in the spring and summer. The budget proposal does not carry with it force of the law –it is, instead, the President's recommendation to the Congress, which ultimately decides whether and how to implement the proposed appropriations funding levels and other changes.

President Donald Trump's budget proposal comes just days after Congress finally reached a two-year agreement on appropriated spending limits. Under that agreement, defense and domestic spending caps are being substantially revised upward for both FY2018 and FY2019. Final FY2018 appropriations levels should be established in an omnibus appropriations bill that needs to be enacted before temporary funding runs out on March 23. Because of the delays in the process, the new budget proposal cannot be precisely compared to FY2018 funding levels. For FY2019, the new budget proposal tracks the higher funding cap for defense programs but proposes less domestic spending than allowed under the two-year budget deal. The administration argues that the domestic spending target is a "cap" not a "floor." It is unlikely that Congress will go along with the proposal to appropriate fewer dollars for domestic programs than permitted under the two-year deal.

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