President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he speaks during the North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
UPDATED 9:45 AM PT — Saturday, February 8, 2020
President Trump is tackling wasteful government spending and the need for additional oversight in his new draft of the 2021 budget proposal. Ahead of its release to Congress next week, the administration is largely focused on several major nonpartisan fiscal cuts.
The U.S. national debt is at an all time high of $23.2 trillion and the president is taking issue with multibillion dollar end-of-year spending.
“(A) bloated federal government, with duplicative programs and wasteful spending, remains a critical threat to America’s future,” stated the budget proposal. “This agenda is focused on new strategies to reduce monetary loss, because protecting taxpayer money and making sure it is serving its intended purpose is a fundamental responsibility.”
This budget directive will likely earn praise from fiscal hawks in Congress, including GOP Sen. Joni Ernst. Ernst has made a name for herself as a spending watchdog. She has called out agencies over their expenses using the Twitter hashtag #MakeEmSqueal.
The lawmaker has championed the Swag Act, which would additionally require all federal agencies to publicly disclose how much they spend on public relations campaigns every year.
FILE – This March 22, 2013 file photo, shows the exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
In the 2021 budget, President Trump seemingly took from her legislation titled ‘Use It Or Lose It Spending Spree.’
“What I can’t understand is how a bureaucrat, sitting in their cubicle at the Department of Energy or EPA, would think it was okay to spend taxpayer dollars on things like this,” said Ernst. “There are important things the federal government needs to do, buying fidget spinners and koozies is not one of them.”
Another proposal within the president’s budget will tackle improper and duplicate payments made by the federal government. According to an oversight report from the IRS, the agency mistakenly pays out approximately $140 billion annually to deceased people. Since 2005, the IRS has spent $1.2 trillion on improper payments.
Members of Congress can expect to read the rest of the proposals when the budget is handed to Capitol Hill on Monday.