Trump pushes debt down the road again in new Budget
This new trend shows how little progress the White House is making in dealing with ballooning government debt, something GOP party leaders had made a top goal during the Obama administration. Trump’s first budget projected the deficit in 2021 would be $456 billion. Instead, it is projected to be more than double that amount.
Trump has shown little interest in dealing with the deficit and debt, though some GOP leaders say it remains a priority. The $4.8 trillion budget for 2021 would represent a $700 billion surge over levels from 2018.
White House officials have blamed congressional Democrats for inaction on the federal deficit. However, Trump has agreed to increase spending throughout the government because it was the condition on which Democrats accepted a higher military budget.
The last budget of Trump’s first term, expected to be publicly released on Monday, also calls for about $2 trillion in cuts to “non-defense discretionary programs,” a category of government spending that does not include Social Security or Medicare. It would also propose extending tax cuts for families and individuals that are set to expire at the end of 2025. Budget experts have projected that extending those tax cuts would reduce revenue by roughly $1 trillion.
The White House promised to close the federal deficit over a similar amount of time in its budget last year, after abandoning its initial pledge to close the budget deficit in 10 years. As a presidential candidate, Trump said he would eliminate not just the annual federal deficit but all debt held by the United States after eight years in office.
The budget is expected to propose 5 percent net cuts in domestic discretionary spending, which is expected to include cutting the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the part of CDC funding that deals with fighting the coronavirus will remain unchanged.
In the past Congress has restored proposed cuts to the CDC budget. At the same time, the budget will maintain Pentagon spending at around its current level, or boost it if increases in a so-called overseas contingency account are included. As in past budgets, this one will cut heavily into programs targeting low-income communities, including slashing community development block grants and home heating assistance. The Education Department will be cut by $6 billion as the administration proposes a consolidation of elementary and secondary education, a person briefed on the proposal said.
The proposed budgets for nondefense domestic agencies, programs that deal with housing, environmental protection and agriculture, will fall well below spending caps that lawmakers and the administration already agreed to in a bipartisan budget deal for 2021. That all but ensures the budget will face bipartisan opposition on Capitol Hill.
The federal debt has already grown by about $3 trillion under Trump.