Congressional budget battle brewing with Trump administration

A fight over the congressional budget in 2018 is expected after President-elect Donald Trump takes office and enacts his campaign promises, says the former president of the Professional Services Council.

Stan Soloway, currently the president and CEO for Celero Strategies LLC, served as the Professional Services Council, the voice of the government technology and professional services industry, for 15 years.

Plenty of uncertainty exists over how Trump is going to govern and follow up on the promises he made on the campaign trail. Those promises signal significant fights over the 2018 budget as some of his priorities and stances differ from the Republican establishment, Soloway said.

“If you look at the gulf before the president and his own party on key budget issues, it’s pretty big,” Soloway said.

Budget analysts anticipate a significant drop in domestic spending as the Republicans put forth a budget proposal for 2017 that would have led to the lowest proportional levels in 50 years, Soloway said. However, Trump has also promised significant investments in domestic infrastructure, meaning those figures would rise if he follows through on those promises.

“If you’re on the non-defense side of the house, you have to be really concerned about what those resources are going to be,” Soloway said.

He said he was surprised to see how defense stocks jumped right after the election, adding he did not expect the Trump administration to pursue big budget defense investments. The president-elect also promised to increase the size of the military services. If he follows through on this promise, it will leave less money in the budget to pay for new weapons systems, Soloway said.

However, Soloway said he expects Trump’s defense team to continue to invest in new technologies. One of Trump’s key advisers, Peter Thiel, is helping put together his defense team. Thiel is a Silicon Valley billionaire who founded Palantir Technologies, an IT firm that holds significant government contracts.

Soloway said he expects Thiel and the Trump administration to challenge the way the Pentagon does business and could make it easier for commercial technology companies to earn contracts.