President-elect Donald Trump has an ambitious goal of cutting $10.5 trillion from the federal budget over the next decade by reducing wasteful spending and eliminating whole government agencies.
Trump transition staffers are already meeting with the permanent White House budget staff to start working on the proposal, The Hill reports.
Much of the plan follows the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) 2017 Blueprint for a Balanced Budget, which itself proposes only $8.6 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years.
Two members of the Transition Team — Russ Vought, who formerly worked for Vice President-elect Mike Pence and used to run the RSC, and John Gray, who’s worked with Pence, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul and House Speaker Paul Ryan — have been meeting with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget over the past few weeks.
The hundreds of proposals in the RSC budget include shutting down numerous government grant and stimulus programs, and completely eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Getting rid of those two departments would save $296 million each year, RSC claims. (RELATED: Republican Study Committee Rolls Out Budget Preview)
The bulk of the cuts to federal spending in the RSC’s proposal come from automatic payments within entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. Most entitlement spending is automatic, meaning that Congress doesn’t need to approve the spending each year.
Trump, however, has promised not to touch Social Security or Medicare benefits, which will make it hard to cut so much from the federal budget, especially with Trump’s promises to increase the size of the military and leverage $1 trillion to build up American infrastructure through tax cuts.
Dramatic budget reform has been a conservative dream for years, but never materializes in Congress. Republicans hope that the energy of the new administration will help bring conservatives together to pass large-scale budget reform bills.
“The Trump Administration needs to reform and cut spending dramatically, and targeting waste like the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be a good first step in showing that the Trump Administration is serious about radically reforming the federal budget,” Brian Darling, a scholar with the Heritage Foundation and former Paul staffer, told The Hill.
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