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Latest spending plan reflects campaign priorities

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump promised during his first campaign back in 2016 that he would wipe out the federal deficit in just eight years.

But when Trump submitted his fourth proposed budget to Congress on Monday, he abandoned that pledge, just as he has in his three previous budget proposals. The new budget proposal sets a 15-year target for eliminating the deficit.

Deficit hawks questioned whether the 15-year target that Trump spelled out is even attainable, arguing the administration’s budget relies on optimistic projections for economic growth and unlikely budget cuts to claim $4.6 trillion in deficit reduction.

“Frankly, budgeting has become pretty much a joke in this country, where budgets are used as messaging documents and an excuse to trade insults,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

This year’s trillion-dollar deficit “should cause us to re-think this dynamic,” MacGuineas said. “The president and Congress should work to agree on national priorities and sound plans to pay for them. Sure it sounds like a pipe dream, but in the world’s largest economy, it should be a given.”

President Donald Trump

Trump’s $4.89 trillion spending plan – the final budget of his first term in office – reads more like a 2020 campaign document than a spending plan that has any realistic chance of becoming law.

It proposes steep cuts in many domestic programs while increasing spending on the military and other programs that will appeal to Trump’s base as he campaigns for voters to return him to office for another four years.

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