Image: people.com

U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed an immediate budget cut of 18 billion dollars from programmes like medical research, infrastructure and community grants so U.S. taxpayers, Mexico can fund the down payment on the border wall.

White House documents were submitted to Congress amid negotiations over a catch-all spending bill that would avert a partial government shutdown at the end of next month.

The package would wrap up 1.1 trillion dollars in unfinished spending bills and address the Trump administration’s request for an immediate 30 billion dollars in additional Pentagon spending.

The latest Trump proposal would eliminate 1.2 billion dollars in National Institutes of Health research grants, a favourite of both parties.

The community development block grant programme, also popular, would be halved, amounting to a cut of 1.5 billion dollars, and Mr. Trump would strip 500 million dollars from a popular grant programme for transportation projects. Some of that money would help pay for parts of the wall.

Reacting to Trump’s latest decision, Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer said “the administration is asking the American taxpayer to cover the cost of a wall – unneeded, ineffective, absurdly expensive – that Mexico was supposed to pay for, and he is cutting programmes vital to the middle class to get that done.

“Build the wall or repair or build a bridge or tunnel or road in your community? What’s the choice?”

The roster of cuts was sent to Capitol Hill as a set of options for Republican staff aides and legislators crafting a catch-all spending bill for the ongoing budget year, which ends on September 30.