Less than a month before his first budget presentation to the nation, President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is declaring war on waste.
“I want the American people to know that our budget will reflect their priorities. We’ll be directing all of our departments and agencies to protect every last American and every last tax dollar. No more wasted money,” Trump said during a federal budget meeting.
Trump, who will speak to the nation and Congress on Tuesday night in a prime-time address, said taxpayers deserve a break.
“We’re going to run government smoothly, efficiently and on behalf of the very hard-working taxpayers — something that the taxpayers haven’t seen in a long time,” he said.
“The finances of our country are a mess, but we’re going to clean them up,” Trump added. “We won’t let your money be wasted anymore. We must do a lot more with less.”
The current federal stopgap budget for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, 2016, expires on April 28. In mid-March, Trump will outline how he wants to allocate funds for the remainder of the current federal fiscal year.
Trump said he’s already started saving money.
“We’ve already imposed hiring freezes on nonessential government workers, and part of our commitment is to continue to do that for the American taxpayer. We have appointed a Cabinet that knows how to manage dollars wisely. I’ve known many of the folks for a long time. They’ve been tremendous winners … . And that’s why I will direct them to manage the country’s dollars and your dollars very wisely,” he said
Just as the budget is expected to include Trump’s calls for increased spending to beef up the military and secure the borders, it will also tackle the growing federal deficit.
“We have enormous work to do as the national debt doubled over the last eight years,” the president said. “I’ve only been here for four weeks, so I can’t take too much of the blame for what’s happened. But it is absolutely out of control.”
Trump said Washington has a “moral duty to the taxpayer requires us to make our government leaner and more accountable.”
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are among the areas often cited as places where Trump will cut spending. Cuts are also expected at the Energy and Commerce Departments and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Stephen Moore, a Heritage Foundation economist, said that although some programs might be popular, Republicans have to make good on their promises to change how Washington spends.
“I think it’s an important endeavor to try to get rid of things that are unnecessary,” Moore said. “The American public has a lot of contempt for how government is run in Washington, in no small part because there is so much waste.”
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