moodboard/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Trump’s budget blueprint will cut the State Department budget by 28 percent while infusing the Defense Department with a 10 percent spending increase, the president’s budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters.
“There is no question this is a hard power budget, it is not a soft power budget,” Mulvaney said. “The president very clearly wanted to send a message to our allies and our potential adversaries that this is a strong power administration, so you have seen money move from soft power programs, such as foreign aid, into more hard power programs.”
While Mulvaney described the cuts to the State Department as “fairly dramatic,” he said the country’s core diplomatic functions will not be impacted by the cuts, which he said are focused on reducing foreign aid.
“That is not a commentary on the president’s policies toward the State Department, that is a comment on the president’s policies toward what is in their budget,” he said. “The foreign aid line items just happen to fall in State.”
Trump’s promised border wall will get a cash influx of $1.5 billion in the blueprint, Mulvaney said, with possibly more money flowing to that project in the next year’s budget. He said this funding will provide for a couple of “pilot cases” to see what type of wall structure is most cost efficient and effective.
Mulvaney described the blueprint as “the America first” budget – designed to follow up on the president’s campaign promises.
“If he said it on the campaign, it’s in the budget,” Mulvaney said.
“We wrote it using the president’s own words,” he also said. “We went through his speeches, we went the articles that have been written about his policies … and we turned those policies into numbers. So you had an ‘America First’ candidate, you have an ‘America First’ budget.”
While Mulvaney said that a balanced budget is not achievable this year, he said a guiding principle in crafting the budget blueprint was to not add to the deficit further, so that every new dollar of new spending is accounted for by a cut elsewhere.
One of the victims of the coming cuts? Big Bird.
Mulvaney said the administration proposing phasing out funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting altogether over time.
“We propose ending funding but technically what you’ll see … some amount of money that’s necessary for us to unwind our involvement with the CPB,” Mulvaney said. “There won’t be a zero next to it, but the policy is that we are ending involvement with the Corporation for Public broadcasting.”
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