Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said over the weekend that President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal, expected to be delivered to Congress March 13, will focus on tax, spending, and regulatory reform designed to spur economic growth.
Elements of the Administration’s tax reform plan, as well as its focus on infrastructure are expected to be featured in the budget release. The proposal will reportedly include a ten percent increase in defense spending while recommending deep discretionary spending cuts for most other federal agencies and programs. These proposals are likely designed work in concert with tax and regulatory policy changes to support the president’s pledge to reduce the nation’s $20 trillion debt.
The proposal will not focus on any potential changes to entitlement programs such as Social Security or Medicare, according to Mnuchin, although the reason may be more a function of timing subject to later reconsideration rather than a firm policy stance. Recently confirmed Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney said during his confirmation process, which wrapped up just before last week’s recess, that he would counsel the president to pursue entitlement reforms.
While the budget’s release is still two weeks away, some details will likely emerge during President Trump’s first joint address to Congress on February 28. These speeches often present a new Administration with their first public opportunity to roll out and test in real time key issues and priorities it intends to pursue with Congressional leaders.
Jamie Tucker is the director, public policy strategy and operations at Independent Sector.