“It’s going to be a very busy March and April for us,” spokesman Sean Spicer said.
Congressional Democrats and other critics are already gearing up to battle Trump over what they believe will be tax cuts to benefit the wealthy, an inadequate health care plan to replace the one signed by President Obama, and deep budget cuts to programs long targeted by conservatives.
Speaking with reporters during his meeting with budget officials, Trump said, “the finances of our country are a mess, but we’re going to clean them up.” He also expressed concern about the ever-rising federal debt.
In pledging to do “tremendous” things with the budget, Trump said he would “take care of” the military in particular. Work on the first Trump budget has been delayed in past weeks until the Senate confirmation of budget director Mick Mulvaney, who attended Wednesday meetings with the president.
Welcoming Mulvaney to a working lunch in the Roosevelt Room, Trump told reporters that “he’s going to be an absolutely great (budget) director.” Mulvaney sat on one side of Trump, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on the other.
Aides have talked about a series of proposed cuts in their budget — including such longtime Republican targets as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities — but they have not been specific.
Spicer said the document will be out in mid-March.
As for the replacement to the Affordable Care Act, Trump said that “maybe mid- to early March we’ll be submitting something that I think people will be very impressed by.”
The one specific date on the schedule: the Tuesday prime-time address to Congress.
While the speech will basically serve the same function as the traditional State of the Union, it is technically just an address to Congress. New presidents are not expected to know the true state of the union.
The address is “a work in progress.” Spicer said, but the president plans to outline where he wants to take the country.
That includes “things like education and health care and infrastructure,” he said, as well as “the problems that we face as a country — the violence in some of our inner cities — but also some of the solutions that we can act on and some of the partnerships that we can create.”