President Trump’s decision Friday to elevate Mick Mulvaney to acting White House chief of staff could affect the administration’s fiscal 2020 budget request for national security, reports Defense News. As Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mulvaney oversaw a significant rise in the deficit even though he is a fiscal conservative. But as chief of staff, he’s in a better position to limit the president’s instinct to increase defense spending, said Todd Harrison, a budget analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“Mulvaney has clearly been the highest-ranking person within the administration who is pushing for cuts in defense spending,” Harrison said. “So if he’s in that chief of staff role for the president while the final decisions are being made on the FY20 budget request, I think that will put him in a position to exercise more downward pressure on the defense budget,” he said.
In light of Trump’s recent declaration that he would propose boosting the defense budget to $750 billion in FY 2020 rather than cutting it to $700 billion, Harrison said, “I think the topline budget for FY20 is very much in play.”
Photo courtesy of Ben Aveling