Budget & Taxes

GOP Has Been Playing Us For Suckers on the Deficit

Stan Collender: “Think about this. The same congressional Republicans who over the previous eight years wanted everyone to believe they were fiscal conservatives hell bent on balancing the budget and not increasing the national debt, sponsored, passed and then danced around the fire because of legislation that will result in a permanent $1 trillion deficit and a debt that will soar to close to 100 percent of GDP by 2028.”

“And…House and Senate Republicans were enabled by a GOP president who during his campaign said he would eliminate the deficit and completely pay off the debt.”

White House May Try to Claw Back $60 Billion

Politico: “The White House is ignoring warnings from worried Hill Republicans and moving ahead with plans to cut billions of dollars from the massive spending bill that Congress passed in late March, after President Donald Trump has spent weeks grousing about the legislation.”

“These officials anticipate the White House could propose slashing anywhere from $30 billion to $60 billion dollars from the $1.3 trillion dollar spending bill passed for this year — even as Republican lawmakers are openly asking the president not to re-open the negotiation.”

Playbook: “There is not enough appetite in Congress, particularly in the Senate. The House will take this up. The Senate will ignore it. And it won’t become law.”

GOP Has Lost All Credibility on Fiscal Responsibility

John Harwood: “The business model of the modern Republican Party does not produce real-world budget discipline. So today, GOP lawmakers turn to make-believe.”

“Within the last four months, the Republican president and party leaders in Congress took two actions that dramatically expand federal deficits. On a party-line vote, they cut taxes by $150 billion a year, then increased spending by $150 billion a year in cooperation with Democrats.”

“Now, as the Congressional Budget Office projects the return of $1 trillion annual deficits, congressional Republicans plan a gesture for constituents alarmed by rising debt. The House will vote on Thursday on a constitutional amendment requiring lawmakers to balance the federal budget.”

Trump Push to Redo Spending Bill Causes GOP Revolt

“A regretful President Trump wants to roll back spending in a massive omnibus bill he signed into law, but Republicans who helped craft the legislation are in open revolt,” Politico reports.

Said House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ): “My attitude is, your word is your bond.”

“Frelinghuysen is among more than a half-dozen appropriators who have voiced skepticism about the Trump administration’s proposal to cancel billions in spending. Nearly all said they feared that it could erode the GOP’s bargaining power in future budget talks. Their objections represented another low point in an often-tense relationship between the cost-cutting White House and GOP members of Congress who write spending bills.”

Deficit Will Top $1 Trillion per Year by 2020

The CBO reported that America’s deficit is growing sharply and will surpass $1 trillion per year by 2020, according to the Washington Post.

“The federal deficit will hit $804 billion in fiscal year 2018, a 21 percent increase from 2017’s deficit of $665 billion.”

“President Trump and congressional Republicans in December passed a new tax law projected to cut government revenue by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. In March, members of both parties approved a funding measure to increase military and domestic spending by nearly $300 billion over the next two years.”

Trump Wants to Take Back from Spending Bill

Mike Allen: “President Trump may try to hit ‘undo’ on a slice of the $1.3 trillion spending bill that he signed last month after threatening a veto, and now regrets.”

“Republican aides in the House and Senate tell me they’re working with the White House on a possible plan to rescind billions of dollars — and perhaps tens of billions.”

“The proposal may not be ready for a couple of weeks… Conversations have included a target up to $60 billion, but Republicans on the Hill say it would need to be less than that.”

Stan Collender: “The new U.S. normal of $1 trillion or more annual federal budget deficits will officially begin this week when the Congressional Budget Office releases its economic and budget outlook report showing that the deficit will be at least that high every year Donald Trump is president.”

Trump Can’t Believe He Signed the Spending Bill

Mike Allen: “We can’t overstate the severity of President Trump’s buyer’s remorse from signing last month’s spending bill. It could even be a turning point in his presidency, on the issue of immigration and his level of cooperation with Republican leaders.”

“Sources who’ve discussed it with Trump say it freaked him out to see the array of usually friendly faces on Fox News’ opinion shows — Pete Hegseth, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, et al. — ripping into him for signing a bill that spent a ton of money, but gave lots away to liberal priorities and did little for his signature promise to build a wall.”

“Truth is that Trump had little clue what was in the largest spending bill ever passed.”

Trump’s Trade War Crowds Out GOP Message

“Republicans want President Trump to stick to a simple message ahead of the 2018 midterm elections: cutting taxes and slashing regulations,” Politico reports.

“But the president, who regards himself as a master communicator, seems to have a different plan. After repeatedly deriding the marketing of the landmark tax reform passed in December — which he wanted to call the ‘Cut Cut Cut Act’ — Trump has shifted gears, instead launching into a tit-for-tat war on trade with China.”

For members: Playing to the Base Won’t Help the GOP In the Midterms

Trump Throws Away His Speech

President Trump was supposed to talk about the new tax law in West Virginia today, but he “tossed the script — literally,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Trump: “This was going to be my remarks. It would’ve taken about two minutes, but… That would’ve been a little boring, a little boring. Now I’m reading off the first paragraph, I said this is boring. Come on. We have to say, tell it like it is.”

He then threw his speech into the air.

“Rather than zeroing in on a focused message about the tax cuts that congressional Republicans believe is the key to retaining their majorities this fall, Trump launched into a rambling diatribe of red-meat rhetoric that had nothing to do with the tax law.”

Will Trump Ignore the Law In Latest Spending Plot?

Stan Collender wonders whether President Trump will attempt to not spend funds appropriated in the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress. He could “try to do this legally or just ignore the law and do it on his own.”

“Either way, if Senate Republicans allow this it absolutely would be a huge breach of faith with their Democratic colleagues and a violation of the deal they cut with them to avoid a filibuster on the omnibus. It would render another bipartisan agreement on any issue close to impossible for as long as Trump was president. It would also be the most egregious abuse in the past four decades of one of the most obscure (unless you’ve been reading my column lately) parts of the federal budget process.”

“This is exactly what we’ve come to expect from an autocratic president who acts impulsively, has no interest in the legislative process, has (and still is) supporting misuses of the process to suit his whims and doesn’t think or care at all about long-term political strategy.”

GOP Mulls Gambit to Avoid Spending Omnibus Funds

“President Trump and congressional Republican leaders, frustrated they had to work with Democrats to pass a fiscal 2018 omnibus spending measure, are mulling a way for their own party to effectively cut some of the funds they just approved,” Roll Call reports.

“The idea would be to deploy lesser-used provisions of the 1974 budget process law to roll back spending by impounding some of the appropriated funds.”

“Multiple rescissions can be grouped in a single message, and Congress has 45 legislative days to approve all, part or none of the president’s request. The budget law would provide a pathway for the Senate to consider a rescission resolution with only a simple majority support.”

Cuomo Moves to Shield New Yorkers from New Tax Law

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) “has pushed through a plan to shield his state residents from tax hikes under the Republican tax law — and Democratic-controlled statehouses across the country are following suit,” the Washington Post reports.

“The two provisions — one creating a new ‘charitable’ fund to replace local property taxes, and the second a largely technical change in how taxes are assessed — aim to help taxpayers avoid a new $10,000 cap on the amount of state and local taxes they can deduct from their federal taxes. The cap was imposed by congressional Republicans to raise money to offset their law’s steep cut to the corporate tax rate, but critics say it was designed to hurt residents of liberal states.”

Mulvaney Nears Victory in Battle with Mnuchin on Taxes

“The White House is poised to give its budget office greater control over some of the Treasury Department’s regulations, handing budget director Mick Mulvaney a victory in a months-long power struggle with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin,” Politico reports.

“The move, which could come in the next few weeks, would end the autonomy the Treasury Department has enjoyed since the 1980s when it comes to issuing tax rules, while giving greater power to one of Trump’s favorite Cabinet members at the expense of another. The highly sensitive debate has consumed the attention of top officials at both agencies.”