tv White House Briefing CSPAN March 12, 2019 2:18am-2:51am EDT
president trump has shown how little he values of the health and well-being of families across america. leaderminority charles schumer had a similar response, " the trump administration's budget would take our country backward and we can rather than strengthen our rather thanen strengthen our middle-class." the acting budget director gave more details on the budget request at monday's white house briefing. afterwards, press secretary sarah sanders answered questions a related to u.s.-china relations and the recent debate of the anti-semitism in congress. sarah: good afternoon. ased today, builds upon incredible success and keeps his promises to the american people and continues the president's pro-job creation policies, keeps taxes low and combats the opioid epidemic, protects our nation
and secures our borders. even with a strong economy, deficits are a threat and this budget will restrain washington spending and raise the budget by -- reach a balanced budget by 2034. this is a clear road map if congress chooses to follow it. to talk about the president's budget proposal, i bring up the acting director of o.m.b. after that i will be back up to take questions. >> good afternoon everyone. happy budget day. today, we have released fiscal year 2020 budget, a budget for a better america, promises kept, taxpayers first. this budget reflects the president's priorities to ensure that all americans can benefit from the nation's historic economic boom and record low unemployment. no president has done more in two years to strengthen our military, restart our economy and reform our government,
then president trump, promises he made while running for office. this progress is threatened by our unsustainable national debt which has nearly doubled under the previous administration and now stands at more than $22 trillion. annual deficits are continuing to rise and will exceed one -- $1 trillion per year and it is projected that interest payments on the national debt will exceed military spending by 2024. washington has a spending problem and endangers the future prosperity of our nation for generations to come. this budget contains nearly $2.7 trillion in savings, more spending reductions proposed than any administration in history. this budget will balance in 15 years. last year, president trump directed federal agencies to meet a target of a 5% reduction to nondefense discretionary spending. i'm proud to report to you today we have achieved that target.
in terms of the economy, our g.d.p. grew by 3.1% over the four quarters of fiscal year 2018 while many claimed we were guilty of wishful thinking. we have met our economic forecasts two years in a row. the first administration to ever do that. we are confident that the president's historic tax reforms, deregulation, trade policy unleashing american energy will continue our economic growth. economic policies in this budget will generate more than enough revenue to pay for the tax cut. fiscal year 2020 president's budget outlines a number of key priorities for the administration to continue to pursue. the budget supports public and private school choice through a federal tax credit of up to $50 billion over 10 years. while this administration has made major progress streamlining our infrastructure permitting, we continue to request $200 billion to level up to a
trillion dollars in total spending. it's the government's responsibility to protect the american people, the homeland and american way of life. the budget requests $750 billion for national defense. to be clear, this is not funding for endless wars but for research and development and procurement to fund the most on inspiring the world has ever known. in addition, federal resources and front line defenders are overwhelmed at the southern border. in the fiscal year 2020 budget, provides sizeable funding $8.6 billion for full completion of the wall and other security resources. in terms of other major reforms, the administration is purported thing -- proposing work requirements for medicaid, snap, tanf and certain housing programs. we can help low income families and end dependency by strengthening work requirements.
the administration wants to lower drug costs. the budget proposes a drug pricing strategy that promotes generics and reduces out of pocket costs. this administration has identified a number of wasteful inefficient programs. for example, we can save hundreds of millions of dollars by right sizing and reforming the underperforming programs like job corps, a youth training program that has made headlines in recent years for the number of security incidents at the facilities. or take the $600 million that we spend at 85 different cultural exchange programs at the department of state despite the fact that 1% of the one million students that come to this country to study ever benefited from that program and at the state department, these programs doubled in the last 10 to 15 years. this budget is a fiscally responsible spending plan. the president has continually
called for fiscal restraint and will persist in his efforts to end the wasteful spending. thank you everyone. with that, i am ready to take questions. reporter: there are some concerns by budget watchdogs that money in the overseas contingency budget will end up building a barrier on the border. can you allay concerns that none of that money will be used for that barrier? >> we do not request o.c.o. money for the border wall. we have emergency spending that we devote to it and we continue the military rebuild by asking for what's necessary to complete the wall. that does include military construction funding. we backfill in fiscal year 2019 any funding that is used in military construction and fiscal year 2020, we asked for congress to appropriate these dollars.
reporter: one other question, it also calls for purchase of eight f-15's and there are concerns that you will lower the number of f-35's. >> we go along with the lines of what the defense department has requested with their five-year defense program. that has beening requested by the military and we think it is something that will make sense when congress considers it. reporter: two questions, you mentioned what the president promised during the campaign and he also promised he would eliminate the national debt in eight years. as you know, the debt at the end of his first year was $20 trillion, last year $21 trillion. last month, $22 trillion what happened to that promise? the president has added historically large numbers to
the national debt instead of keeping a progress -- keeping a promise. the last administration doubled the debt and when he ran for office he said he would tackle the debt. he did it the very first year he came to office by sending a budget that balanced within 10 years and had more spending reductions than any in history. >> he added $2 trillion. >> he had an economic recovery necessary to put people back to work and rebuild the military and historic levels of military at $716 billion in national defense dollars. at the same time, congress has been ignoring the president spending reductions for two years. it is only now, in our third budget, that they are willing to have a conversation about the national debt. we have been trying to have it. the president is putting forward these reductions and 5% cuts in nondefense discretionary to mandatoryorms
programs on autopilot while keeping his commit meant to american seniors by not making changes to medicare and social security. reporter: to go back to what john asked, if the deficit is such a problem why not cut the rate of increase to the defense budget? and secondly, he has said promises kept but cutting medicare. how does that keep his promise? >> he is not cutting medicare but putting forward reforms that lower drug prices because medicare pays a large share of drug prices in this country. that has the impact of finding savings. we are finding ways to cut fraud and abuse. medicare spending will go up every single year by healthy margins. there are no structural changes for beneficiaries. reporter: why not at least cut the rate of increase if the deficit is of such concern? why not cut you >> he is the
commander in chief and thinks it's important to secure the country, one of his most basic constitutional responsibilities. the military put forward a five-year to plants plan -- defense plan. it was done over five years. which gets back to john's question. we are going along with the five-year defense plan and putting additional dollars towards the military construction funds that we have tapped. >> two major drivers and long-term spending our baseline budgeting and entitlement spending in general. and secondly, this may be more ambitious in terms of savings than in previous budgets you proposed and i wonder why you are now dealing with a democratic house where in the past you might have been -- >> it is in line with previous budgets. we balance in 15 years.
our first budget balanced in 10. one reason we couldn't balance quicker is because it gets harder every year that congress doesn't go along with our spending reductions. you mentioned mandatory spending. it is a driver and we have more reforms than any budget in history. what has happened for far too long is that congress has blamed mandatory spending and increased discretionary spending which they have voted by large degrees. they continue to let a paradigm exist in this country that says for every dollar in defense spending we will increase nondefense spending by a dollar. we need to break that paradigm. we don't think that allows us to that our fiscal house in order. reporter: realistically, the administration is not going to get $8.6 billion. are there other executive actions you are looking at to pursue despite the national emergency being declared and the treasury forfeiture drug enforcement dollars that you could use to continue to fill the additional funding that you say is necessary for the wall? >> we are focused on spending
the money congress gave us in the last appropriations bill and the money we have identified as part of declaring the national emergency. and this $8.6 billion is geared towards what we would need in addition to complete that wall. reporter: the administration talks about the importance of infrastructure and you propose $200 billion infrastructure this year. but last year there were cuts to other programs that would have caused a net decrease in infrastructure spending. would there be a net increase in infrastructure spending under this budget? >> what most people refer to when they make that assertion is the fact that the trust fund doesn't have enough revenues coming into it. this budget looks at the baseline and assumes that to be the case, but we are totally ready and willing and able to talk to congress to ensure there inre are additional dollars
the federal trust fund and put forward an additional $200 billion in new investment to make sure it is not just a surface transportation bill, because when we need broadband, or other infrastructure money, that is also something we can pursue. reporter: sounds like the administration didn't take on spending in the first couple years because the economy needed a kick. we also hear this economy is roaring right now. how do you square having deficits in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, four years going forward of trillion dollar deficits? how is that fiscal conservatism? >> we need deficits to get the economy starting. and we put spending reductions aimed at a balance budget, and we have every year. we do have large deficits. that is why we are here transparently saying we have a problem as a country. it takes a long time to get out of that. we came into office and faced $10.5 trillion right off the bat. instead of being with us and
considering our proposals and allowing us to make the case why the american people would be better off under these reforms, congress hasn't been willing to play ball even though they have the power of the purse. reporter: one of the ways you are going at it is reducing nondefense discretionary spending. defense spending over the next 10 years, $7.7 trillion but nondiscretionary, $5 trillion. do you really believe that congress is going to yank spending down that significantly over the next decade? >> every budget is an opportunity to put forward our vision of the next 10 years. we are going to do it in this budget and we can no longer afford the paradigm that congress gives us, that we are never going to make any trade-offs, never going to align what we spend with what we take income of that we are not going to do what every family doesn't across the country, trying to figure out what they can afford before they go out and spend.
we are trying to say we need to continue to secure the country. we need to continue to secure the border. and we are not going to be bashful about that but at the same time we have many programs that are wasteful and inefficient that we can no longer afford. for welfare reform and snap, how much money is proposed for welfare, job training and with snap? what are the lessons learned that you are trying to reshape this harvest box proposal because it came under great criticism before and you are proposing it again. could you talk about those issues? >> it did receive criticism but we thought they were unmerited and we won't walk away from the proposal that pertains to the harvest box. we think there is nothing wrong with putting forward a reform that says in addition to your normal food stamps spending that benefits that you would get at
the retail, you would get a harvest box that will allows you to get -- that allows you to get a balanced meal and save money. in terms of work requirements it has long been viewed as a success since the 1990's and we expand on it and we have long viewed as important to take the same principles of reducing dependency that we saw in tanf and apply them to housing, food stamps and medicaid. >> i'm sorry, some people slipped through the crocs and may need job training. are there funds proposed for training? if you are going to do this welfare to work initiative? >> absolutely. the department of labor receives an adequate amount of funding in an era where we have $1 trillion deficits. there will be many workforce development programs funded as part of this budget. reporter: a lot of the objection has been in terms of federal debt. but can you address the federal unfunded liabilities?
where does that number stand right now and what does this budget do to address that much larger number? >> we have a lot of debt as a country and trying to take it head on and trying to say $22 trillion is not acceptable and we can't go forward with $1 trillion a year and we need to pursue the types of reforms where we think the american people will have the opportunity to see how their lives would be better off. we do it in federal retirement benefits, student loans and welfare reforms. we think in each one of these scenarios we are going to be able to encourage the kind of conversation that allows us to get our house in order. thank you. sarah: thank you, russ. lastly, quick comment, we extend our prayers to the loved ones and friends and family of those killed in the tragic crash
flight.pian airlines at least eight u.s. citizens were among the victims. we are working with the ethiopian government. with that, i will take your questions. reporter: the president said that democrats hate jewish people, according to a recent tweet. -- according to a recent report. we have seen him tweet that democrats are quote, the anti-jewish party. does the president believe democrats hate jews? sarah: the president is a committed ally to israel and the jewish people and frankly, the made by aat have been number of democrats and failed to be called out by democrat leadership is frankly abhorrent and sad and something that should be called by name. it shouldn't be put in a watered-down resolution. it should be done like what
happed to steve king. he made terrible comments and we ofipped them -- stripped him committee memberships. reporter: the president has not condemned steve king. he praises white supremacy. has the president publicly come out and said anything? sarah: the president has been briefed on a number of topics and i refer to you to those comments. i used words like abhorrent and unacceptable. reporter: the president plans to name patrick shanahan as the secretary of defense, elevating him from the acting position. can you tell us whether or not that is going to happen? sarah: i'm not going to make any personnel announcements. i can tell you that the president has a great deal of respect for acting defense secretary shanahan. he likes him. and when the president is ready to make an announcement, he will. reporter: there are a lot of actings in the administration.
any possibility of removing sarah: certainly a lot a possibility there. some of the reason we have acting's is we are waiting on the confirmation process for a couple of those folks. reporter: i want to follow up on what the latest with china is. has the president made an offer on the mar-a-lago date? there is a report the chinese think the president is unreliable after walking out on the north korean talks. sarah: let me start with the first one. in terms of whether or not we have a date set, not yet. we are continuing the negotiations with china. when we have an announcement for the two leaders to sit down, we will certainly let you know. reporter: what do you say to concerns from the chinese that the president is an unreliable negotiating partner after the talks with north korea broke down? sarah: that is absurd. the president is going to make a deal if it is a good deal, if it is in the best interest of
america. if he does not feel like it is a good deal, it is not worth signing a piece of paper. the president didn't feel like what was on the table was enough. the president is 100% committed to denuclearization of the peninsula and he is going to make sure that whatever we do furthers that process. we will see what happens with north korea, the same thing we will see with the negotiations with china. they are ongoing and the president will make sure whatever deal we get is in our best interest, that it is fair and reciprocal trade and protects our intellectual property and it actually has safeguards to make sure that the chinese follow through with whatever commitments that they make. reporter: picking up on that, does the president have any plans to speak with president xi over the phone? sarah: i'm not aware of any scheduled calls. if we have any, we will keep you posted. reporter: is that the most likely step, that they speak on the phone beforehand, or is it possible that these two still meet at the end of the month or the beginning?
sarah: we will keep everything on the table. negotiations are ongoing. the president's team as well as the chinese delegation continue conversations and when they feel like it is time for the two leaders to sit down, we will make that happen. reporter: i didn't get my budget question asked before. sarah: you missed the big moment. reporter: i did. in the budget, the way i see it -- there is a lot to go through -- it keeps referring to western hemisphere with regards to foreign aid spending, but nothing specifically about central america. the president said that he wants to cut money to central america. in fact, he could cut it all. is that in the budget? sarah: i don't have any specific update on that front. i don't think there is a different policy. reporter: on big votes coming up this week in the senate on the resolution with regards to the national emergency. what is the president doing to stop a rebellion among republican senators? we know that a rising number -- it is reported as many as 10 or
15 could vote against that. what is the president doing about that? sarah: he is doing his job, what the congress should be doing. he took an oath of office and has a constitutional duty to protect the people of this country. we have a humanitarian and national security crisis at the border and the president is doing his job in addressing it. he gave congress a number of opportunities to actually address it and they failed to do so. so the president is taking his constitutional authority that congress granted him. let's not forget, the only reason he has the authority to call a national emergency is because congress gave him the right to do so. they failed to do their job. the president is fulfilling his duty. he is going to make sure he does what is necessary to protect the people of this country and secure our borders. reporter: -- calls and meetings he might be taking with senators he believes could be voting for that resolution? sarah: certainly, we talked to a number of members every single day at the presidential and staff level. we are going to continue to engage with them. reporter: what is the
administration doing for secretary acosta's role -- and [inaudible] does the president have any misgivings about the role that this top official plays in the field? sarah: that is currently under review so i can't get into specifics. i am not aware of a specific timeline. reporter: i have a question and a follow-up because i did not hear you answer the question. yes or no, does the president truly believe that democrats hate jews? sarah: i'm not going to comment on a potentially lead document. i can tell you -- reporter: does he believe democrats hate jewish people? sarah: i think they have had a lot of opportunities to condemn -- i am trying to answer. if you would stop talking, i will finish my statement. the president has laid out clearly his position on this matter. democrats have had a number of opportunities to condemn specific comments and have refused to do that. that is a question frankly i think you should ask democrats what their position is, since they are unwilling to call this
out by name and take action against members who have done things like this, like republicans have done. reporter: i want to be very clear -- you are not answering the question. sarah: i believe i answered it twice. reporter: you did not say yes or no. sarah: that is a question you should ask the democrats. reporter: why hasn't paul forfort ruled out a pardon paul manafort? sarah: the president has made his position on that clear and he will make a decision when he is ready. reporter: last week the president tweeted that "michael cohen directly asked me for a pardon or go -- pardon." when did that happen, in the oval office, on the phone? do you have a date? sarah: i am not going to get into specifics of things that are currently under review by the oversight committees and other committees. what i can tell you is that cohen's own attorney stated and contradicted his client when he
said that he was aware that those conversations had taken place. we know that michael cohen lied to congress prior to his testimony most recently, and we know that he has lied at least twice in that hearing. i think it is time to stop giving him a platform. let him serve his time and let's move on. reporter: just to put it on the record because a lot of people want to know -- is there anything in the president's 2020 budget request that has mexico paying for the wall? sarah: as the president has stated a number of times through the usmca that we look forward to getting past, that will be part of how that takes place. reporter: two brief questions. following up on john's personnel question, does the president have full confidence in secretary acosta or is the labor secretary possibly leaving? sarah: i'm not aware of any personnel changes. but again, those things are currently under review. when we have an update, i will let you know.
reporter: the other question is in the president -- is, is the president and discussion about signing an executive order to undo executive order 13166, president clinton's executive order -- sarah: i'm not sure what that one is. reporter: president clinton's executive order 19 years ago requiring multiple languages. a new executive order, i am told, would make english the official language in government. sarah: i'm not aware of a specific executive order that has been drafted, but that is the position of the white house. reporter: did the president ask cohen to intervene or block at&t's merger with time warner? sarah: i'm not aware of any conversations around that matter. reporter: just to get back to john's question about the president's comments about democrats and jewish people -- isn't that kind of rhetoric just sort of beneath everybody? and do you think that the president has thought at all
, going into this 2020 campaign, that the rhetoric just needs to be lowered? whether he is talking about democrats, the media, immigrants -- or should we just plan on hearing the president use the same kind of language we heard of 2016 and all through the first couple of years of this administration? sarah: i think that the real shame in all of this is that democrats are perfectly capable of coming together and agreeing on the facts that they are comfortable ripping babies straight from a mother's wo mb or killing a baby after birth, but they have a hard time of condemning the comments of representative omar. i think that is a shame. the president is clear on his position and his support for the people and community of israel. i don't have anything further on that. reporter: doesn't this drag down the rhetoric of debate when you are saying something patently untrue?
sarah: stating their policy decisions -- reporter: democrats don't hate jewish positions, that is silly. sarah: they should call out their members by name. i don't have anything on that. reporter: the president after charlottesville saying that there are very fine people on both sides, suggesting that there are very fine people in the nazis. sarah: that is not at all what the president was stating, not then or at any point. the president has been incredibly clear in consistently and repeatedly condemning condemned hatred, bigotry and racism in all of its forms, whether it is in america or anywhere else. to say otherwise is simply untrue. reporter: that is along what i am asking. since the president did say that in charlottesville, some very fine people on both sides, has he, in your opinion, condemned charlottesville for their actions against jewish americans?
sarah: the president has condemned neo-nazis and called them by name, which is what we are asking democrats to do when they see the same kind of hatred. reporter: can we expect to have briefings more often now, since there has been a changing atmosphere here? sarah: i have not noticed a change in the atmosphere. i know the president is the most accessible president in modern history. i know that he takes questions from you guys nearly every single day, and the days he doesn't, sometimes i do it from here. questionshundreds of from reporters all over the world every day. we are going to continue, sometimes from this room, sometimes from other venues. ombrter: why does the budget include money -- sarah: can you say that louder? reporter: why did the omb include money for the yucca mountain nuclear waste repository -- it is in the spending blueprint -- and what
are the chances congress will actually enact that? sarah: i think the chances that congress will do its job based on historical precedent over the last couple of months are unlikely, but that does not mean we are not hopeful that they will work with us, look for ways that we can reduce spending and protect our military, do things like that which you see in the president's budget. we would love them to work with us. reporter: could you tell us about the thinking to put that in? sarah: i am not aware about any specific policy changes. i will let you know. one last question. reporter: why did the president write a check to michael cohen for 37 -- for $35,000 while he was here in the white house? what was the money for? sarah: i'm not aware of any specific -- reporter: was the president engaging in a conspiracy to conceal campaign finance violations? sarah: the president has been clear there was not a campaign violation. beyond that --
again, i would refer you back to the president's comments. that is not something i am part of. i would refer you to the president's outside counsel. reporter: does the white house denied that the president is individual one? in the southern district of new york -- sarah: i am not going to comment on an ongoing case. that's not something i would be part of and i refer you to outside counsel. i can tell you the president has stated his position and made it clear. reporter: why does the president deny something that was caught on tape? on camera? why did he later denied -- deny it? announcer: deputy secretary of state john sullivan joined other government officials to go over the presidents trying to budget request for the state department and take questions from reporters. this briefing is about half an hour. minutes.