President Donald Trump, a new report suggests, is expected to request major cuts from the Environmental Protection Agency's spending as part of his budget plan that is designed to boost military funding.
The White House will send its budget plans to Cabinet officials Monday, according to Axios. The president, insiders said, is targeting the EPA as part of a first step in his planned "deconstruction of the administrative state."
Trump is expected to submit his full budget blueprint by March 13, The Associated Press reported last week. He will likely cut climate change and global warming initiatives from the EPA's budget as part of his stated desire to force the agency to focus more on clean air and water.
The president's position on climate change is no secret. In January, Trump reportedly ordered political appointees to review all of the data found by scientists at the EPA before it can be cleared for publication. In addition, the White House ordered the agency to remove its webpage on climate change and global warming, according to EPA staffers.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer, however, has denied Trump directly ordered the EPA publishing changes, adding in January that the communications hush on scientific data is not out of the ordinary for a new administration: "I don’t think it’s any surprise that when there’s an administration turnover, that we’re going to review the policy."
The cuts to the EPA and increased spending in the military budget would be a step toward Trump's promised military expansion, including a transition goal to expand the U.S. Navy's fleet to 350 ships — the largest buildout since the Cold War, bringing with it a $165 billion price tag over 30 years, according to The Hill.
Trump's military spending requests will require Congress to waive Obama-era military budget caps put in place as part of the sequester in 2013. In the past, congressional conservatives have been uneasy about increasing military spending without additional cuts, and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, a former Republican congressman, has opposed such increases in the past.
Mulvaney, however, vowed during his confirmation hearings to support the president's requests for military spending increases, The Hill reported.
As for paying down the nearly $20 trillion national debt, Trump is betting on tax cuts and deregulation to reinvigorate the U.S. economy. The White House believes lower corporate taxation will spur manufacturing and investment growth, which would ultimately increase government revenues.
According to the New York Times, Trump's forthcoming budget will predict 2.4 percent growth this year, which is significantly greater than the 1.6 percent growth average under former President Barack Obama's administration but well below the 4 to 6 percent growth Trump promised on the campaign trail.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told the Times that the White House would like to complete comprehensive tax reform by August.