White House Economic Advisor Says Trump is 'Really Serious About the Deficit'

WASHINGTON -- White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett told PJM that President Donald Trump is "really serious" about addressing the rising deficit.

In fiscal year 2018, the deficit was almost $800 billion dollars. The national debt has surpassed $22 trillion. Hassett was asked if he thinks fiscal conservatism is dead within the GOP.

"If you look at the increase in the deficit, you know, revenues haven't really gone down the way that some of the naysayers who opposed the tax cuts had suggested but spending has gone up and I think one reasons why spending has gone up is that President Trump and Republicans prioritized rebuilding our defense, which they thought maybe we had underspent on in the previous few years, but going into the budget season, it's a high priority for the White House to put forward a budget that gets ahead of the curve on spending," Hassett said at the White House on Friday.

"And if you look at the president's budget, which is his real objective, his policy objective, it calls for 5 percent across-the-board spending cuts for the cabinet agencies. I think that shows this president is really serious about the deficit, but I think whether Congress will play ball as well remains to be seen," he added.

When asked if he would recommend further increases in defense spending or keeping the defense budget at the same level, Hassett replied, "I'm not a defense spending expert but I know it's a dangerous world out there but you would have to ask the generals and defense experts."

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