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HIGHLIGHTS-The Trump presidency on March 16 at 6:35 P.M. EDT/2235 GMT

March 16 (Reuters) - Highlights of the day for U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday:

BUDGET

Trump's first budget outline, calling for a security-heavy realignment of federal spending, drew quick resistance from Congress, with especially strong criticism of proposed deep cuts to diplomatic and foreign aid programs.

It is not unusual for a new White House to present a "skinny budget" - a spending wish list for Congress and some basic economic projections - but Trump's first one takes it to an anemic level.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says his department's current spending was not sustainable, and he willingly accepts the "challenge" Trump is proposing in cutting more than a quarter of his agency's budget.

The Trump administration wants a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, eliminating its climate change programs and trimming core initiatives aimed at protecting air and water.

Trump's proposal to privatize U.S. air traffic control won the backing of major U.S. airlines, but drew criticism from other groups concerned smaller airlines and private companies would lose airport access.


HEALTHCARE

Deeply divided Republicans squeeze their U.S. healthcare overhaul, backed by Trump, through a key House of Representatives panel despite defections by three conservatives who consider it too similar to the Obamacare law it is intended to replace.


TRAVEL BAN

Trump has pledged to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary to fight for his revised travel ban, parts of which were halted by two federal judges in recent days.


NORTH KOREA

Tillerson says the escalating threat from North Korea's nuclear program shows a clear need for a "new approach," but he does not say what the Trump administration has in mind.


WIRETAPPING

Trump stands by his accusation that the Obama administration tapped his phones during the presidential campaign, the White House says, despite three senior lawmakers rejecting Trump's claim.


TRADE

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the administration has no desire to get into trade wars, but certain trade relationships need to be re-examined to make them fairer for U.S. workers.


MIDDLE EAST

Trump's Middle East envoy pursues quiet diplomacy and avoids controversy while shuttling between Jerusalem, Ramallah and the Jordanian capital Amman on his first official visit to the region.

BIOFUELS

More than 20 senators are pressing Trump to reject requests from oil refiners to overhaul the biofuels program, weighing in on a debate that has roiled markets from soybeans to gasoline in recent weeks.

(Compiled by Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis; Editing by Bernard Orr and James Dalgleish)