- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2018

President Trump blamed Democrats on Tuesday for “wasteful spending,” taking to Twitter to say they’ve bloated the number on “needless” items.

The president appeared to be attempting to boost prospects for his $15 billion “rescissions” package, a series of spending cuts he proposed to Congress earlier this year, looking to make up for signing a $300 billion spending hike.

The tweet also came just hours after the trustees for Social Security and Medicare reported that the two big entitlement programs are facing looming insolvency issues.

Mr. Trump didn’t mention those programs, but expressed frustration at the state of the federal budget.

“Imagine how much wasteful spending we’d save if we didn’t have Chuck and Nancy standing in our way!” He said, referring to Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “For years, Democrats in Congress have depleted our military and busted our budgets on needless spending, and to what end? No more.”

Mr. Trump earlier this year signed a bill that envisions boosting domestic and military spending by $300 billion in 2017 and 2018. The president at the time said he wanted the military increases and so he had to accept the domestic increases.

But fierce criticism from his conservative backers soured him on the deal, and he has since said he won’t sign a repeat version ever again.

He has also asked Congress to cancel about $15 billion worth of spending — though that package is meeting resistance on Capitol Hill.

Democrats said the “rescissions” package is a betrayal of the spending deal Congress reached and the president blessed. And they said even Mr. Trump appears to be backing away from some of the items, such as an ill-timed cut to Ebola funds, just as a new outbreak of the dreaded disease hit in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

House Majority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said the administration amended another 10 of its proposed cuts in a new version Tuesday, but he said it couldn’t save the package.

“The amended rescissions package proposed today is, like its predecessor, a sham,” he said.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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