Policy

Trump’s ‘Taxpayer-First Budget’ Slashes Domestic Spending

President proposes $4.1 trillion in spending for fiscal 2018

A worker assembles the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 at the Government Publishing Office's plant on North Capitol Street before a visit from OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks on May 19, 2017. The budget will be released next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The fiscal 2018 budget that will be unveiled by the White House Tuesday would wipe out the deficit in 10 years through trillions of dollars in spending cuts and new revenue generated by economic growth, based on data provided by the administration.

President Donald Trump proposes to spend $4.1 trillion in fiscal 2018, measured as outlays. The spending plan projects collecting $3.65 trillion in revenue in 2018, resulting in a $440 billion deficit in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

In a briefing with reporters Monday, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney characterized the plan as a “taxpayer-first budget.”

“This is, I think, the first time in a long time that an administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people who are actually paying the taxes,” he said, rather than looking “only on the recipient side.”

Highlights of the 10-year plan, a sharp departure from President Barack Obama’s budget proposals, include raising defense discretionary spending every year and cutting nondefense discretionary spending every year.

The budget proposes a $54 billion increase in base discretionary defense spending in 2018, offset by an equal cut in nondefense discretionary spending.

Over the 10-year budget window, the plan would increase base defense spending by $489 billion and cut nondefense discretionary by $1.6 trillion.

Overall, the plan would reduce discretionary spending by $1.5 trillion over a decade.

The savings include $593 billion from phasing down the use of the Overseas Contingency Operations funds, which are meant to be used for war funding but which have been routinely used to also supplement the base defense budget.

The budget proposes $65 billion for defense OCO in 2018, a number that gradually falls until it reaches $10 billion in 2022, where it remains through 2027. The large savings are realized by assuming that current high levels of war funding will continue to grow with inflation, absent the Trump budget.

Much of the budget will meet with immediate disapproval from Democrats and likely some Republicans as well. The president’s budget is a proposal to Congress, which will write its own budget resolutions and make appropriations.

The Trump administration made available to reporters Monday only the summary tables of the fiscal 2018 budget request, as well as an executive summary. The full budget document will be released at 11 a.m. Tuesday at www.govinfo.gov.

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