Budget

Trump telling aides to look at potential spending cuts if he wins reelection: report

President Trump is reportedly telling aides to prepare for significant budget cuts should he win reelection, marking a reversal of the sizeable spending the White House has directed since he took office.

Five people briefed on the discussions told The Washington Post that the administration will be better positioned to reduce spending and shrink or completely scrap certain agencies starting in 2021, especially if Republicans win back the House. 

However, the cost-cutting goal for a potential second-term is thrusting uncertainty into how to tackle current negotiations with House Democrats on crafting a budget and lifting the debt ceiling, the newspaper reported.

Trump, who was once a vociferous critic of raising the debt ceiling without concessions, is now calling to lift the limit to allow more spending and borrowing, saying it's a "sacred thing in our country" that shouldn't be used to negotiate

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has said the government could run out of money by early September if the debt ceiling isn't increased. He is negotiating with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over the prospect, though talks were stalled over an administration request for a $150 billion spending cut. 

However, Mnuchin's push for a deal does not completely mesh with calls from other advisers, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, for significant cuts this term, a dispute that threatens to spill over into a potential Trump second term, The Post noted.

Democrats have already said the sizeable cuts are non-starters for them this time around and are not expected to agree to such steep cuts should Trump be reelected.

Inserting even more confusion into the matter, Trump has not told aides how sweeping he wants the future budget cuts to be, according to The Post.

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