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Trump asked members of his cabinet to figure out how to cut 5 percent of their budgets

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters during a cabinet meeting Wednesday with (from left) Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and others in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, D.C. Before the meeting, he told cabinet members that he expected them to reduce their budgets by 5 percent for the 2020 fiscal year. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump asked members of his cabinet to prepare to cut 5 percent from their respective budgets for the 2020 fiscal year.

What does the president want?

Speaking to members of his cabinet before their meeting with the media in the room, Trump said

I'm going to be ask each of you to come back with a 5 percent budget cut from your various departments, whether it's a secretary or administrator, whatever. I'm going to ask everybody to come back with a 5 percent cut for our next meeting. I think you'll all be able to do it. There may be a special exemption, perhaps. I don't know who that exemption would be. If you can do more than five, some of you will say 'hey, I can do much more than 5.'

He continued:

Get rid of the fat. Get rid of the waste. And I'm sure you can do it. I'm sure everybody at this table can do it. It would have a huge impact.

Because of an increase in federal spending, combined with substantial tax cuts, the federal deficit has been increasing.The federal budget deficit was 17 percent higher for the 2018 fiscal year than it was in 2017, and larger than any previous year since 2012.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget predicted in July that the federal budget deficit would pass the $1 trillion mark in 2019. The deficit has only ever reached $1 trillion between 2009 and 2012, due to bailouts and other counter-recession measures.

The Congressional Budget Office reported on Monday that it expected the deficit to “grow substantially over the next several years, stabilize for a few years, and then grow again over the rest of the 30-year period.”

In March, Trump signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package into law. At the time he said he was “forced” to sign the bill and promised he would “never sign a bill like this again.”

What about military spending?

Trump addressed this again on Wednesday, arguing that the omnibus bill had been necessary to improve the military, which was “falling apart,” “depleted,” and “in very bad shape.”

Last budget we had to go, because of the military, we had to fix our military. Our military is in the process of being fixed. Planes are being made, boats are being made, ships are being made. Missiles, rockets, everything. Our nuclear's being brought to a level that nobody else could even imagine. Pray God that we don't have to use it, but there'll be nothing like what we have.

Trump said that defense spending could also be at least somewhat reduced, saying that the next defense budget “will probably be $700 billion.” The current budget is $716 billion.

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