WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump’s budget director says the budget that the administration sends to Congress on Monday will seek to move some of the billions of dollars in extra spending that Congress approved last week to areas that will reflect the president’s priorities.
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says the administration’s budget plan will include $3 billion for the wall along the southern border that Trump has made a priority, but there will be a contingency for $25 billion in spending on the wall over two years if Congress passes legislation to deal with young immigrants known as Dreamers.
Mulvaney acknowledged the new spending approved last week will result in annual deficits in future years of $1 trillion and higher, but he says the administration will propose ways to avoid that fate.
Trump on Friday signed a $400 billion budget deal that sharply boosts spending and swells the federal deficit, ending a brief federal government shutdown. Trump tweeted that the bill would make the military “stronger than ever before” and the increased spending will mean “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.”
But irate conservatives pointed to projections that the increased spending puts the government on track to hit a $1.2 trillion deficit in 2019 and to record trillion-dollar-plus deficits far into the future.
Mulvaney, appearing on Fox News Sunday, acknowledged that the forecast for a $1.2 trillion deficit in 2019 was “probably close to being accurate.” But he said the president’s budget for 2019 would show ways to avoid that outcome.
“When we roll out the budget on Monday … you are going to get a chance to see how we can avoid that future,” Mulvaney said. “The budget does bend the trajectory down. It does move us back towards balance. It does get us away from trillion dollar deficits. Just because this deal was signed does not mean the future is written in stone. We do have a chance still to change the trajectory. And that is what the budget will show tomorrow.”
Mulvaney said while the budget bill approved by Congress does increase money for agencies such as the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency where the administration in its first budget last year proposed deep cuts, the administration will still try to convince Congress to trim those increases.
“There are still going to be the president’s priorities as we seek to spend the money consistent with our priorities and not the priorities that were reflected mostly by Democrats in Congress” in the bill Trump signed on Friday, Mulvaney said.