People who voted for President Donald Trump are getting "exactly what they voted for" with his $1.15 trillion budget, and its call for drastic cuts in several departments in order to boost military spending and provide money to start constructing the Mexico border wall, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Thursday.
"You can put the graphs back on the screen if you wanted to and I could point to you speeches that the president gave during the campaign that said exactly those things," Mulvaney told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," after an outline was posted showing the cuts.
Trump's first budget proposal includes a $54 billion increase in defense spending, marking a 9 percent jump, and calls for a 7 percent increase to Homeland Security. He plans to offset those costs by cutting the State Department's budget by 28 percent, Agriculture and Labor by 21 percent, and major reductions to healthcare, human services, commerce, and more, noted show co-host Willie Geist.
There have been complaints that some of the high costs, including for new items such as the F-35 fighter plane, are coming at the expense of items such as after-school programs, but Mulvaney said Americans will choose defense over many other programs.
Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, sitting on the show's panel, said he believes the planned cuts for the State Department are "bad for national security."
"I think every past secretary of defense would say if [they] had to give a choice between continuing the State Department's accounts and putting more money into the Pentagon account, they would say we get more bang for our buck by what the State Department does around the world," said Haass, a career diplomat.
"What this will do is really hurt American support for things like fighting disease, and what that does is then we are going to be vulnerable to infectious disease," said Haass to Mulvaney.
"It hurts development dealing with refugees. How did you justify building up defense and cutting state and leaving entitlements alone? Why in particular are entitlements continuing not to be cut?"
Mulvaney said entitlements were not addressed because "this is a budget blueprint," and the budget is being done in phases, which is not unusual during a transition year.
"The tradeoffs between the state and the military, make no mistake about it, this is a hard power budget, not a soft power budget and what the president wanted, and what we gave him," said Mulvaney.
He also defended the budget as doing "exactly what we said to do, to protect Americans," said Mulvaney, so more money is being spent toward that end, such as on the border.
"We are spending more money on law enforcement generally," said Mulvaney. "Even though you see a reduction in the Department of Justice, the amount of money they have to enforce the laws goes up."
Mulvaney said that he does believe that some of the president's budget has a chance in Congress, even though many lawmakers have ruled out cuts to spending in the State Department.
The budget also contains drastic cuts on items such as after-school programs, teaching grants and aid to students, but Mulvaney said many such programs may sound great, but "a lot of them don't work."
"I can't justify them to the folks paying the taxes and I can't go to the autoworker in Ohio and say 'please give me your money so I can do this program here someplace else that isn't helping anybody,'" said Mulvaney.
The targeted programs, he continued, either haven't worked or duplicate other programs, he continued.
"I lose track of the numbers," said Mulvaney. "[There are] more than 50 job training programs within the federal government. Clearly there has got to be some opportunity there for a combination of savings."
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