- Associated Press - Thursday, March 16, 2017

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey’s congressional delegation on Thursday began sizing up Republican President Donald Trump’s $1.15 trillion budget proposal.

Democrats were largely critical and Republicans praised efforts to cut spending but also called out areas of disagreement.

Republican Rep. Leonard Lance, who represents the 7th District, says proposals to cut Coast Guard programs and the National Endowment for the Arts are “penny wise but pound foolish.”

“The President’s budget acknowledges that we tax and spend too much in this country,” Lance said in a statement. “But I do not agree with each and every line item.”

GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen chairs the House Appropriations Committee and pointed out that Congress controls the “purse strings.”

Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone, of the 6th District, says the plan it “eviscerates” programs that help the public.

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez was particularly critical of a plan to end the so-called “New Starts” program that included funding for a rail tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey.

Trump’s initial proposal was submitted to Congress Thursday and boosts defense spending by $54 billion. That means cuts elsewhere for the environment, agriculture and the arts.

The budget also would make a down payment on the U.S.-Mexico border wall, which Trump repeatedly promised the Mexicans would pay for.

Thursday’s proposal calls for an immediate $1.4 billion infusion with an additional $2.6 billion planned for the 2018 budget year starting Oct. 1.

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