It’s all about the budget

In one of the busiest weeks yet, the Trump administration gave Congress  two budget proposals to debate. The White House seeks an extra $30 billion for military spending this year, partly to boost troop levels and pay for desperately needed spare parts. With most of it in the base budget and not the overseas contingency operations account, the proposal exceeds budget caps, thereby requiring two bills from Congress — one for the money and one to bust the ceiling.

The 2018 budget outline is clear on President Donald Trump’s priorities. Big boost for DoD at the expense of all civilian agencies except for Homeland Security. It fingers 19 small, independent agencies whose budgets the President  would zero out.

The new executive order on federal government reorganization gives agencies a tough assignment. They’ve got 180 days to come up with recommendations for ending duplicative or unnecessary programs and other ways to cut costs such as through shared services. Even ideas for which agencies to close altogether. Then the public gets a chance to comment. The order envisions a year-long process leading to a final recommendation.

The White House dove into the health care legislation reform debate. President Trump threw his backing behind a so-called repeal-and-replace bill led by House Speaker Paul Ryan. He spent part of Monday meeting with what the White House termed victims of Obamacare, both individuals and businesses.

President Trump also held his first cabinet meeting.

President Trump accelerated appointments to the second management tier, those who get much of the work done. He names James Donovan, now a managing director at Goldman Sachs, as deputy Treasury secretary. And Eric Hargan, a shareholder with Greenberg Traurig, as deputy secretary of Health and Human Services, a job he held as acting once before during the George W. Bush administration.

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