Budget group tells Trump: Pay for your plans

Budget group tells Trump: Pay for your plans
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Influential budget leaders are issuing a stern warning to President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLieu: There will be 'widespread civil unrest' if Trump fires Mueller Attorneys for Trump, Mueller hold face-to-face meeting to discuss potential interview topics: report Trump tariffs not helpful for nuclear talks, South Korea says MORE not to rack up federal debt with his costly plans for infrastructure and tax breaks. 

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) on Thursday released an open letter to the incoming president urging him to take control of exploding spending levels — even if the stance runs counter to his lofty campaign promises.

“Pay for your proposed initiatives and veto legislation that adds to the debt,” the group wrote in the sharply worded letter, which was unveiled at an event Thursday. “When you are in a hole, the first step toward getting out is to stop digging."

The group, which is led by former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta and former GOP governor Mitch Daniels,  also told Trump to pursue a multi-year spending deal in his first year in office, and help end a cycle of last-minute fiscal cliffs in Congress.

Trump’s massive spending agenda has worried fiscal hawks throughout his campaign. The CRFB said earlier this year that Trump’s proposals would cost $5.3 trillion over the next decade.

The president-elect has contradicted himself in comments on the deficit on the campaign trail.

In some speeches, he condemned federal spending, promising to eliminate national debt within eight years.

But he also outlined a dizzying array of new programs and tax cuts, sometimes in the same campaign speech. He’s called for a huge increase in defense spending and vowed to spend more on infrastructure than even his campaign rival Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump adds to legal team after attacks on Mueller Press: You can’t believe a word he says Feehery: March Madness MORE had committed to do.

The CRFB warned him of the “deteriorating fiscal outlook” he will face on Jan. 20 and said his administration should not take seriously the idea that low interest rates will protect the U.S. from higher spending levels.

“While some have suggested ignoring our debt problems in light of today’s low interest rates, we believe such an approach would be shortsighted and ill-advised,” the CRFB wrote.  

Part of the path to long-term fiscal stability, the group said, is a longer-term spending deal.

Leaders of the group urged Trump to work with both parties’ leadership in Congress to craft a budget deal that would go beyond 2018. 

Trump has already asked Republicans in Congress to pass a short-term extension of government spending so that he can help shape the 2017 spending bill.

That short-term spending bill, which has not yet been released, will likely run through May — around the same time that leaders in Congress will be pressured to raise the debt ceiling.

The CRFB urged Trump to use the spending deal to confront the looming “sequester” cuts to defense and nondefense spending, as well as the battle to raise the debt ceiling. 

“Milestones — including the submission of your first budget, the next debt limit breach, and the return of sequestration in fiscal year 2018 — also present opportunities to show leadership,” the group wrote.