(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump said his team has “enormous work to do” to assemble a federal budget that will bring down deficits and deliver on priorities such as a military buildup, public infrastructure investments, expansion of immigration enforcement and tax cuts.
Trump said he would release a health plan in early to mid-March, ahead of tackling his promised tax overhaul. The plan for overhauling the Affordable Care Act is “moving along nicely,” told reporters as he gathered with top advisers for a lunch to discuss the federal budget.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said afterward that the administration wanted to advance a health plan first to make it easier for the Republican-controlled Congress to repeal portions of the ACA through a procedural maneuver that permits Senate approval of budget-related legislation by a simple 51-vote majority, rather than the 60 votes often needed.
Trump hasn’t yet said how he plans to pay for announced plans to hire 15,000 more border control and immigration enforcement agents, rebuild the military after wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, embark on an infrastructure building program and cut tax rates for individuals and corporations
The White House is expected to send the outlines of a fiscal 2018 budget to Capitol Hill as early as March 13, congressional aides on both sides of the Capitol have said. Spicer confirmed the budget outline would come around that date.
The budget plan may offer a clearer picture of how Trump will try to deliver on campaign promises to overhaul the tax system and to repeal and replace the ACA. It also may provide more clarity on how the administration intends to reorder domestic, infrastructure and military spending, as well as what federal programs and agencies Trump will try to eliminate.
Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner attended the luncheon meeting with Trump as well as economic adviser Gary Cohn, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget.
—With assistance from Jonathan Nicholson and Justin Sink
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