U.S. President Donald Trump has routinely pointed to his administration’s handling of the economy as evidence of his success, but at least one major indicator this week is telling a different story.
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget has released a new estimate that puts the federal deficit at over $1 trillion just next year. The deficit passing that mark comes from legislation that has been passed since the February release of a federal government budget and adds an estimated $101 billion to next year’s total. That leaves the projected deficit in 2019 equal to 5.1 percent of the nation’s annual gross domestic product, and new legislation adds tens of billions of dollars to deficit projections for years beyond 2019 too. The report does view years in the farther future through rose colored glasses, claiming the deficit in 2028 to be set to drop to only 1.4 percent of GDP.
The legislation most responsible for the deficit increases includes, according to the OMB report, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and the subsequent omnibus spending bill. Trump threatened to not sign that omnibus bill, but he ended up doing so and thereby averted what would have been the third government shutdown of his presidency.
His issues with the bill included its lack of support for his proposed immigration policy reforms, and the new OMB report — produced by an office whose leader was appointed by Trump — reminds readers that the president made a show of signing it begrudgingly. That does not, however, erase the fact that it’s his party that was largely responsible for the bill and he did, in the end, sign it. All of those years of GOP talk about lowering the deficit or else went right out the window — and what’s to say that it won’t happen again the next time Congress renews government spending provisions?
The actual deficit next year and in coming years may be different from the totals reflected in the new review released by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, because the report notes that the estimates incorporate the 2019 budget released by the White House being made reality. Congress, however, often contests points of the budgets released by the White House, and there’s no reason to think that the process going into 2019 will be any different. Trump’s 2019 budget proposal has already attracted serious scrutiny thanks to included massive cuts to spending at the State Department, the Environmental Protection Administration, and other agencies.
Confrontation between the Trump administration and Congress may even include another government shutdown due to lack of funds could be on the way. Trump has repeatedly throughout recent months said that he’s willing to refuse to sign a spending bill if it doesn’t include the provisions he wants for a border wall, so whether he will follow through on that promise remains to be seen.
The border wall Trump wants to see go up could easily cost tens of billions of dollars, which indicates just how on board Trump really is with big, deficit-ballooning spending when it suits him.
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