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Top White House economic adviser previews ‘tough budget’

Greg Nash

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Sunday that President Trump will call for an across-the-board domestic spending cut of 5 percent in his budget proposal, even as he asks for an increase in funding for a wall along the southern border.

Kudlow  on “Fox News Sunday” laid out the administration’s budget strategy ahead of the submission of the fiscal 2020 proposal on Monday. He said it will pair policies like the 2017 tax cut bill with the roughly 5 percent domestic spending cut in an effort to spur growth and deal with deficits.

“It will be a tough budget,” he said, calling it “exactly the right prescription.”

{mosads}The president reportedly intends to request $8.6 billion for his long-promised wall along the border with Mexico when he submits his fiscal 2020 congressional budget on Monday.

The funding for the wall would reportedly pull $5 billion from the Department of Homeland Security budget, plus $3.6 billion for the military construction budget at the Pentagon. The budget proposal would include a separate $3.6 million in military construction to help fund projects affected by the wall.

Congress must approve funding for fiscal year 2020 by Oct. 1, or funding could lapse and the government could shut down.

Kudlow acknowledged on Sunday that the proposal is likely to lead to yet another fight in Congress over the president’s desire for a wall. Trump last December triggered a weeks-long partial government shutdown over his demand for $5.7 billion for the structure.

The president later agreed to reopen the government without receiving any wall money. Congress last month appropriated $1.375 billion for barriers, far below Trump’s desired number. Trump then issued an emergency declaration to bypass Congress and spend roughly $8 billion on a wall. 

“I would just say that the whole issue of the wall and border security is of paramount importance,” Kudlow said Sunday.

“We have to be much together and have more constructive immigration policy, which we will be developing,” he added. “(Trump) is going to stay with his wall. He’s going to stay with the border security theme. I think it’s essential.”

The federal deficit spiked $92 billion in the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, a 41-percent increase over the same period of 2018. The White House estimates that the federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion this fiscal year, which runs through September 30.

Kudlow, however, downplayed the threat of burgeoning debt during the Fox News interview, saying he doesn’t believe economic growth policies “have to obsess necessarily about the budget deficits and so forth.”

“I don’t think that’s a burden on the economy,” he said.

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