President Donald Trump’s budget director is defending the administration’s new proposed budget, which promises massive cuts to non-military discretionary spending and has already been pronounced “dead on arrival” by Republican Sen. John McCain.
Asked by CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell why the new budget doesn’t allocate more money for infrastructure spending – a top priority for Mr. Trump on the campaign trail – Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney said that funding was on its way.
“We have moved a lot of the infrastructure spending out of the discretionary budget in anticipation of putting it back into a larger infrastructure plan -- I believe we get to it hopefully by the summertime,” Mulvaney said Thursday on “CBS This Morning.”
“So yes, if you do see reductions for example in certain programs in the Department of Transportation, that is not a reflection of a lack of commitment to infrastructure. What it really is is a message that we think there’s a better way to do it and that’ll be the plan we unveil this summer.”
Mulvaney also fought back against the idea that the budget could not be passed, in part due to its cuts to State Department funding.
“Certainly, every politician is going to have different priorities....The president represents everybody, so his budget is driven by that. Regarding the State Department, we’re absolutely confident that there’s enough money in the budget, more than enough money in the budget, to allow the State Department to maintain their core diplomatic functions,” Mulvaney said.
He continued: “Keep in mind a lot of the foreign aid is in the State Department budget. A lot of the money for climate research, climate change work is in the State Department budget. So that’s one of the reasons you see such a large reduction there. But to the larger point about diplomacy and Defense Department, this is a ‘hard-power’ budget. There’s no question about it. It’s what the president wanted.”
According to Mulvaney, the message is in a sense a message to both Republican and Democratic members of Congress about what Mr. Trump’s budget priorities are.
“What is the message to Congress in this budget? The president wants more money for defense,” Mulvaney said,
“He wants more money for border enforcement. He wants more money for law enforcement generally -- we increased that part of the Department of Justice. He wants more money for veterans, and he wants more money for things like school choice. And he wants to do that without adding to the deficit this year. And that’s the message that we want to send to Congress.”