WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's 10-year budget blueprint, which adds more than $7 trillion to the national debt, "puts the country on a path to restoring fiscal discipline," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.
The presidential spokesman made her comments shortly after the administration released its fiscal 2019 budget. It foresees a deficit of $873 billion in the year ending Sept. 30, followed by a deficit of $984 billion in 2019, $987 billion in 2020 and $916 billion in 2021.
By 2028, the yearly deficit falls to $363 billion.
The White House release came three days after passage of a budget package that boosts spending by an estimated $320 billion over the next two years.
The deficits are larger, in part, because of the $1.5 trillion tax cut package that Trump signed into law in December.
The new budget projections assume strong, uninterrupted growth for the next 10 years, with unemployment dropping as low as 3.7 percent and remaining below 5 percent for the next decade. They foresee 10 straight years of solid economic growth, with the GDP rising each year by at least 2.8 percent. They count on low inflation and stable interest rates.
The White House's economic forecasts are more bullish than previous Congressional Budget Office estimates.
To keep the annual deficits just under $1 trillion in the coming years, lawmakers will have to make cuts to existing programs -- $3 trillion over the next decade.
On the campaign trail and in the White House, Trump repeatedly promised to rein in government spending.
During his May 26 weekly radio address, for example, Trump told Americans, "We will balance the budget without making cuts in Social Security and Medicare."
Last year, Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, called the nation's $20 trillion national debt "a crisis, not just for the nation but for every citizen."
At Monday's White House briefing, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette asked if the administration still believes that a crisis exists and why the White House had chosen to "hit the gas pedal, instead of the brake, when it comes to spending."
Sanders defended Trump's taxing and spending decisions.
"One of the biggest and top priorities of the president's first year in office was to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which we think will have a big impact on that moving forward. It's been a major focus on the economy and the budget today that provides funding for the president's priorities, including national security," she said.
"The president also knows that one of the most important jobs he has is protecting this country; therefore, the need for rebuilding our military that had been ignored for so long, infrastructure, focusing on defeating the opioids crisis, and a border wall," she said.
"At the same time, the budget reduces the deficit by over $3 trillion. This budget not only funds the president's priorities, but puts the country on a path to restoring fiscal discipline."
After Sanders spoke, Mulvaney told reporters that he still considers himself a "deficit hawk." He insisted that passage of a balanced budget isn't possible at this time given the political circumstances.
Mulvaney, a former congressman from South Carolina, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Budget Committee today and the House Budget Committee on Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, a Republican from Rogers who chairs the House committee, said the body would "carefully consider" the White House blueprint before drafting its own budget resolution.
"Later this week, I look forward to hearing directly from OMB Director Mick Mulvaney," he said in a written statement. "Without question, the President's budget acknowledges the grave financial state of our country. However, in order to slow down and pay down the nation's unsustainable debt, balancing the budget should always be the goal. Doing so remains the goal of our committee."
U.S. Sen. John Boozman, a Republican from Rogers who serves on the Senate Budget and Appropriations committees, said the White House blueprint would be helpful.
"The President's budget proposal outlines the administration's funding priorities and provides insight for my colleagues and I as we work toward passage of the annual spending bills for the coming fiscal year," he said in a written statement.
"While it is important to understand what the administration's budgeting priorities are, Congress will make the ultimate decision on funding levels for specific programs."
A Section on 02/13/2018
Print Headline: Sanders: Budget plan puts nation on curative path