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Senators mock Trump on hot mic

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBipartisan, bicameral group unveils 8 billion coronavirus proposal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Biden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate MORE (R-Maine) was caught on a hot mic on Tuesday expressing concern over President Trump's mental health and questioning his understanding of the budget process.

In a conversation with Sen. Jack ReedJack ReedTop Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: Trump fires Defense chief Mark Esper | Worries grow about rudderless post-election Pentagon | Esper firing hints at broader post-election shake-up | Pelosi says Esper firing shows Trump intent on sowing 'chaos' Esper firing hints at broader post-election shake-up MORE (D-R.I.), the Maine Republican said of the president's budget proposal that “whenever there was a grant, they just X-ed it out, with no metric, no thinking about it, no nothing. I mean it’s just incredibly irresponsible.”

President Trump's budget proposal eliminated a slew of grants that provided welfare and social service support, such as the Community Development Block Grant.

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Reed responded to Collins by saying, of Trump: “He’s crazy.”

Collins can be heard quietly saying, “I'm worried.”

Reed, who is also the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed concern about how failure to strike a spending deal would ultimately harm the defense budget.

“If we don’t get a budget deal, we’re going to be paralyzed with DOD,” Reed says, referring to the Department of Defense.

Without a new spending deal, the defense budget would top out at $549 billion for the next fiscal year because of the Budget Control Act (BCA), which imposed spending ceilings on agencies. That’s below current spending levels and more than $70 billion less than what has been approved by the House Budget Committee.

“I don’t even think he knows that there is a BCA,” Collins says, before the two continue talking about recent appearances Trump made at the USS Gerald R. Ford, in which he called on Congress to pass a budget.

The audio was streamed following the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development approved its spending bill for 2018, sending it to the full committee. Collins is the chairman of the committee, and Reed is the ranking member.  

A spokeswoman for Collins denied that the senator was expressing concern for Trump’s mental health.

“What Senator Collins is worried about is the elimination of transportation and housing programs in the President’s budget request that are critically important to local communities across our country, such as: TIGER, CDBG, Essential Air Service, HOME as well as major reductions to FAA, Amtrak, and rental assistance, which serves predominantly older and disabled individuals,” the spokeswoman wrote in a statement to The Hill.