January 19th, 2017

Trump plans to enact conservative budget-cutting program


Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned…

Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition.

Similar proposals have in the past won support from Republicans in the House and Senate, who believe they have an opportunity to truly tackle spending after years of warnings about the rising debt.

Many of the specific cuts were included in the 2017 budget adopted by the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus that represents a majority of House Republicans.

When Trump was running for office, there was a lot of speculation about whether he was a conservative or not. The consensus was “no, but sort-of maybe kind-of.” With no track record, it was hard to tell. But at least on this topic, he seems to be following a strictly conservative line. Actually, the majority of his actions since winning the election have been more conservative than most people thought they would be.

There are theories about this (hey, we’ve got theories about everything). One is that experiences Trump had on the campaign trail have made him more conservative than he was when he started out. I think that’s plausible, and not just due to his encounters with regular voters, but also to his closeness with Pence and other conservatives of a type he hadn’t ordinarily hobnobbed with in his previous life.

I suppose it’s also possible that Trump was holding back his inner conservative till after the election, and that he always has been more conservative than he let on.

At any rate, these proposals may be more conservative than some Republican members of Congress want to see:

Moving Trump’s budget through Congress could be difficult. In 2015, with the GOP in control of the House, the RSC budget failed by a vote of 132 to 294.

Moderate Republicans and Democrats on the Appropriations Committee are likely to push back at some of the cuts being considered by Trump.

But they seem likely to have the support of Mulvaney, a conservative budget hawk who backed the RSC budget.

“Mick Mulvaney and his colleagues at the Republican Study Committee when they crafted budgets over the years, they were serious,” said a former congressional aide. “Mulvaney didn’t take this OMB position to just mind the store.”

More details about where the cuts would occur can be found at the link.

17 Responses to “Trump plans to enact conservative budget-cutting program”

  1. Brian E Says:

    Is this supposed to be a net decrease in federal spending, or are these proposed cuts going to offset the current deficit spending or proposed increases in spending like infrastructure or health care?

    I know some of the infrastructure was public/private partnership using low cost loans, and of course the wall is going to be paid for by Mexicans– but even with that I assumed that proposed initiatives coupled with tax cuts (both business and personal) would affect the deficit.

  2. huxley Says:

    The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.


  3. Sam L. Says:

    Oh nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
    The HORROR!! The horror…

  4. Ralph Kinney Bennett Says:

    I think the most profound educational experience Trump has had on the campaign trail has not been at the feet of conservatives. Rather it has been his exposure to the scornful, foam-flecked hatred of left/liberals. They play for keeps. They do not compromise. They demand obedience to the dictum “We know better than you how you should live.” And of course they have no shame. What monumental tantrums! He did not pay that close attention to the glitterati and their throne-sniffers, sycophants and acolytes before, and was inclined to be friendly to them. Now he has seen them for what they are.

  5. Yancey Ward Says:

    Well, in fairness, one has to understand that the RSC budget had no chance of getting a presidential signature on any spending bill reaching Obama’s desk, so it losing in the House isn’t shocking.

    I think this approach of squeezing the bureaucracy directly is smart, both politically and economically.

  6. Chester Draws Says:

    Cutting back spending to decrease the deficit is a good thing.

    The trick will be whether he actually decreases the deficit, or he just spends it on something else. Defence will be one issue that he will struggle to fight off fellow Republicans — although a sizable cut to Intelligence spending might be a possibility. He talks about infrastructure spending too.

    Then we will see if he is Conservative, or merely Republican.

  7. physicsguy Says:

    still can’t see comments

  8. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    DRAIN the Swamp. Let the chips fall where they may. Full speed ahead and DAMN the ‘torpedoes’ of political correctness.

    99% of the people who will be outraged voted for Hillary.

  9. parker Says:

    Budget cuts would be wonderful and well past due. I would be happy with a 5% cut as a start down the path to fiscal sanity. I will take back all my negative thoughts about Trump and the gop if they can accomplish that during djt’s first year. As with all things, we’ll see.

  10. Irene Says:

    The Prez-elect is famous for bringing in his multi-multi-million dollar projects ahead of schedule and under budget. People shouldn’t be surprised he’d bring the same scrutiny to Washington.

    He’s returning 20% of the transition budget. Good start.

  11. Frog Says:

    Chester Draws is once again endeavoring a misdirection attempt. “Defence [sic] will be one issue that he will struggle to fight off fellow Republicans”.

  12. Jim Miller Says:

    If we actually drained the swamp, swamp creatures like Roy Cohn, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and, of course, Donald Trump, would die.

    If anyone had any doubts about Trump being a swamp creature, his boast that he bribed politicians should have settled the matter.

    (I’m not sure about Jared Kushner, but his hiring of Jamie Gorelick is suggestive.)

  13. Tim Turner Says:

    “One is that experiences Trump had on the campaign trail have made him more conservative than he was when he started out.”
    Unlikely, I think.

    1. Trump is a dealer. He’ll come to the table if you come to the table. Republicans came to the table and Democrats are stomping their feet. Trump has no reason to give Democrats anything – why should he?

    2. Trump is following an age-old bargaining tactic – overshooting his position. He’ll demand such huge budget cuts that opponents will promise anything to stop him. He’ll make moves for a trillion-dollar cut, and they’ll concede to $200 billion.

    3. Trump is rolling in strong – an initial show of force to beat down opposition and make future battles easier. Why would he choose to show weakness?

  14. Big Maq Says:

    Don’t know if it is 5% or not, but like parker says, it is an indicator of the right direction to be happy about.

    It really only covers some of the expansion in spending over the obama years (include GWB for the emergency $1T deficit in his final year budget) – i.e. it puts us back to about 2007 budget levels in relative terms.

    We need far more than that for a cut if we hope to make headway.

    Massive reduction in size and scope of government, and “entitlement” reforms are where the core budget problems are to be solved. This is also where economic growth is to be accelerated. Without that growth, we won’t ever be in a position to carry the debt load that is coming.

  15. Clay Says:

    My theory is different: I don’t think Trump has any political ideas of his own, minus some vague self-serving ones. He wanted the presidency to increase his own popularity and brand, and once elected he was glad to offload the thinking to those around him: in this case, the conservative establishment, minus the ones that had pissed him off.

    They’ll be making the decisions while he sits back and basks in the presidential glory. My prediction is he won’t work that hard; he’ll do the bare minimum while Pence and co. run the show. This is actually a good thing, given his temperament.

  16. MikeII Says:

    Clay: Thanks for your liberal view of the topic. Go back to listening to NPR. How many rounds of golf did your dear Leader play? Guess he was there for the common folk right? If you like your plan you can keep it- knowing it was a bald faced Lie. I was not a Trump supporter until he was the last man standing but he does seem to have the country’s good at heart. Now if all the no-trumpers would simply shut up and hope the establishment gop doesn’t sink the ship we will see what he can do.

  17. Big Maq Says:

    While trump talks at a high level and seems to have difficulty explaining much policy with any depth, the man trump put in charge of running one of the inauguration parties (a man who claims he is a long time trump friend, another developer in NYC), had an interesting and different perspective, on an interview aired Friday or Saturday.

    He claimed he refused an offer to work for trump’s admin because trump is such a “micro-manager”.

    His most recent example was how trump was on him about “what type and color napkins were going to be used” (paraphrased from memory).

    Just one more data point into understanding who our POTUS is.

    As such, I wouldn’t buy into the idea that trump would be so hands off operationally.

    The more interesting question is likely to be can he stick to a policy position without turning on a dime, in short notice, on all his staff?

    He seems to say one thing to one audience, and another to yet another audience.

    In campaign mode, there might not be as much consequence (at least with running against as flawed a candidate as clinton), but unless he plans to operate by fiat, he needs to bring along many to help him implement what he wants.

    Hard to be so convincing when the contradictions or inconsistencies are so public.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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