Republicans have spent a generation complaining about deficits, government spending and attacking a so-called “big government.” Yet, within just a few years the entire party has turned 180 degrees.
In a recent Axios scoop, a closed-door meeting at the White House this week revealed President Donald Trump is angry about the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. But instead of working with the GOP-led Senate to come up with a solution, he plans to utilize a slush fund instead.
“The president does not want a caps deal” to keep sequestration from kicking in, legislative affairs official Paul Teller told staff and conservative groups on Capitol Hill.
Instead of making a deal, the White House thinks it can offset the cuts to the Pentagon by putting $100 billion “in a controversial slush fund that sequestration can’t touch.”
Trump wants to spend a lot when it comes to the military and has declared a national emergency so that he can use $6 billion in Pentagon funds for his border wall.
According to one source familiar with the remarks, Trump “really wants to stick to his numbers and doesn’t want a caps deal because that means more domestic spending,”
Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is known as a budget hawk and criticized the “slush fund” while he was in Congress. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, however, the White House is taking advantage.
Trump has already backtracked on his budget proposal, restoring funding to the Special Olympics, though it’s unclear if it will be restored to special education. During a Michigan rally Thursday, he announced he would fund the $270 million that goes to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
It’s unclear if Trump is making the cuts so that he can then announce he’s restoring the funds and score positive headlines.
“I guarantee you can find all sorts of cuts that he’ll turn around and say I’m not cutting this sh*t,” a source involved in the budget told Axios.