Pelosi: Trump Budget Is Systemic Deconstruction of the Federal Government and Its Role’

Susan Jones | March 16, 2017 | 11:29am EDT
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi rejects the values she sees in President Trump's budget blueprint. She called it a fundamental disagreement about the role of government. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

( - “This budget is really a slap in the face of the future,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday, after President Donald Trump released his Fiscal Year 2018 budget blueprint to “make America great again.”

Pelosi said the budget – which boosts defense, homeland security, veterans affairs and school choice at the expense of the EPA, State Department, and other programs -- fails as a statement of values, but it succeeds as a “deconstruction” of the federal government.

She denounced the budget at a news conference:

This is all about a philosophical distrust of the role of the federal government…in meeting the needs of the American people. And should there be a debate? Should we subject all spending to the harshest scrutiny? We certainly should.

And those of us who have advocated for some of it are the harshest critics, to make sure that those investments accomplish what they set out to do.

So we don’t have any argument about saying ok, are we getting our money’s worth for what we need to do for the American people? But that’s not what this is about. This is systemic deconstruction of the federal government and its role.

Pelosi said Republicans “never miss an opportunity to suck up money from middle class and working class families to the richest people in our country. And we see that in the health care bill. We see that in how they establish their budget priorities in this bill, so that they can say we can give more tax cuts to the rich and we can be in balance in the budget because we’ve cut education, research, infrastructure and the rest.”

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on Thursday the Trump blueprint does not intend to balance the budget. It just takes spending from one place and “reprioritizes” it somewhere else.

‘We really do want to work in a bipartisan way’

Pelosi said it’s sad that Republicans are so “ideological” about deconstructing government: “And what’s sad about it is, one of the biggest differences between Democrats and Republicans is, we really do want to work in a bipartisan way.

“We have enough humility about ourselves to think there night be a good idea on the other side. In any event, people voted for (Trump), we want to hear what the wishes are of those people. So we’d be happy to sit down, put it all on the table – what produces growth? …How do we come to the conclusion of a budget that produces growth? And that’s not exactly what this is about.”

Asked if there are any areas anywhere in the Trump budget that Democrats could support, Pelosi said Democrats will introduce their own budget shortly.

Budget Director Mulvaney, appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday, said in making budget decisions, the Trump White House posed this question: “Can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs?… We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

At the end of her news conference on Thursday, Pelosi – dressed in green – said she was off to a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon with other House members. “Perhaps we can have a moment of – what? (She laughed.) A moment of comity? Of comity, of goodwill in honor of St. Patrick. And hopefully, that will carry us through.”

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