Nov 25, 2018

Report: Trump wants to cut deficit but still demands pricey spending

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Ten current and former White House and congressional officials told the Washington Post that President Trump has been urging his top advisers to cut the growing federal deficit, even as he tries to implement pricey programs, like a massive infrastructure package.

The big picture: 2010's Tea Party wave, which propelled many budget-conscious Republicans to power in Washington, was prompted by increased federal spending and concerns of big government that have long been central issues for the GOP. But Trump’s contradictions reflect how conflicted the party has become — even as the Congressional Budget Office said earlier this year that the deficit will approach $1 trillion by the end of 2019's fiscal year.

Trump is not well-versed on the particulars of the federal budget, according to the Post. He had largely expressed no interest in discussing the matter and instead told former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn to simply print more money.

  • "'He’d just say, run the presses, run the presses,' one former senior administration official said, describing the president’s Oval Office orders. 'Sometimes it seemed like he was joking, and sometimes it didn’t.'"
  • The White House did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment.

The details: Trump ordered his Cabinet secretaries last month to identify areas in their respective agencies where they can impose steep budget cuts. But he suggested that some areas, including the military, might be "curtailed slightly," per the Post.

  • Trump has said funding for Medicare and Social Security, two of the government’s most expensive entitlement programs, will remain untouched. And the president's budget proposal set to be released early next year is not expected to include steep tax increases.
  • Yes, but: A frequent Republican argument — backed by budget experts — is that entitlement programs drive most of the spending in the federal budget.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee on Wednesday, including the gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a Wednesday evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

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Coronavirus updates: South Korea case count tops 2,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

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Syria's darkest chapter

Family room without a family, in Idlib. Photo: Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The worst humanitarian crisis of Syria’s brutal civil war is colliding today with what could be the war’s most dangerous geopolitical showdown, after at least 29 Turkish troops were killed in an airstrike.

The big picture: The fighting is taking place in Idlib in northwest Syria, where a ferocious Syrian and Russian offensive has displaced 1 million civilians and infuriated Turkey, which borders the region.

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