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White House Press Briefing; President Trump Releases Budget Plan. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired March 16, 2017 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Here we go. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for be with me here on this Thursday.

We watch, we wait, live pictures there of the White House Briefing Room, waiting to hear from Sean Spicer on a multitude of issues here today confronting the White House, on wiretapping, the travel ban, the health care bill, and the budget out today.

We do know that the OMB chief, Mick Mulvaney, will be out with Sean Spicer to talk about some of those numbers, the numbers that critics point to as being unrealistic.

But, first, major news on these allegations from President Trump, specifically on wiretapping. Now we have heard from the ranking members of the Senate Intel Committees, both Chairman Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner.

Let me just quote this for you, because this is this very strong rebuke here -- quote -- "Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day, 2016."

Let me add to that, over on the House side, we heard from Manu Raju in his interview with the ranking member, Democrat, on the House Intel Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff, who said to him he has had conversations with the FBI chief, Jim Comey, and they have met, of course, in closed-door sessions.

And he ultimately said he will echo the same sentiment, not only that there was no evidence, but just quite simply that President Trump was not wiretapped by President Obama.

All of that said, let's go to our man there in the Briefing Room, Jim Acosta, our senior White House correspondent.

And may I first ask, they're late. Where is Sean Spicer?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we just got the two-minute warning...

BALDWIN: There you go. ACOSTA: ... Brooke, in just the last couple of minutes. So, we

should be starting this shortly here.

We should point out we got a 10-minute warning back at 2:20, I think.

So, I know there's college basketball on right now, but I feel like we're seeing the four-corner offense being run over here at the White House. Not sure if they're running out the clock here, but there are a lot of questions to ask.

Obviously, there are those wiretapping questions that you just raised. Just before the scheduled 2:00 start time, we did see that statement coming from Chairman Burr and Mark Warner there in the Senate Intelligence Committee saying that they haven't seen any surveillance going on at Trump Tower before or after the election.

But we were expecting to have the OMB director, Mick Mulvaney, come out here and talk about the president's budget for fiscal year 2018, which obviously has a lot of questions baked inside of it.

Presumably, there are going to be a lot of questions asked about that here as well, but you also have the fact that the president's second attempt at a travel ban was held up in the courts last night.

And so there are no shortage of questions here. What we might have in this room is maybe a shortage of patience, since the briefing is now running an hour late, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Do we -- we've really heard Trump -- the president has been uncharacteristically silent on his wiretapping claims.

We did finally hear in the back and forth with Tucker Carlson sort of him try to wiggle his way out of this allegation he made. How do you think Sean Spicer responds to that, because I know or others will ask?

ACOSTA: Right.

And I tried to press Sean Spicer on this a couple of days ago...

BALDWIN: Yes, you did.

ACOSTA: ... and asked, well, are we going to see something coming from the administration to the House Intelligence Committee, which has essentially set a deadline for next Monday to have some kind of evidence from this administration to back up the president's claims, which are still so far baseless.

And Sean Spicer said yes. But then, last night, you heard the president say in that interview a newspaper article or a Fox News interview might have been the basis for that.

And it looks like, Brooke, we are getting started here.


ACOSTA: So, we will toss it back to you. We have officials coming in the room. So...

BALDWIN: We got it.

ACOSTA: I don't think we see Sean Spicer just yet. There we go. OK. There you go, Brooke -- back to you.

BALDWIN: There we go. Let's roll.

Jim, thank you.

ACOSTA: Back to you, Sean.

BALDWIN: Here's Sean Spicer.



Well, you know, we're getting ready for the season. Got a couple coming.

Sorry for the delay, guys. It's budget day.

As I -- the -- I was supposed to kick this off with Director Mulvaney.

He's still on a call with the governors, (inaudible) to host a ton of briefings today with key stakeholders.

And so, my goal if this times out right, is that as we finish up, Director Mulvaney will walk in the room right on queue, and then we will -- he will talk to you a little bit about the budget and we walk through Q&A on that. So, hopefully this all works.

I'm going to skip past the part where I say thank you, Director Mulvaney.


SPICER: As the director will say, the president's budget blueprint keeps his promise to put America's security first, turning his words directly into policies that restore respect for our citizens hard- earned tax dollars. There were some additional non-events budget -- non-budget events of the day.

SPICER: This morning, the president had a bilateral meeting with Taoiseach Kenny of Ireland. Our two nations have a long history, common values and important economic ties. The president was honored to host him here in the Oval Office and recommit to strong social, political and economic relations between the U.S. and Ireland.

This afternoon, the president made the remarks at the Friends of Ireland luncheon at the Capitol. This traditional lunch celebrating Americans bipartisan commitment to peace and security in Ireland was started in 1983 by President Reagan and Speaker O'Neill; both proud Irish-Americans, and has been attended by every president, speaker and Taoiseach of Ireland since then. And also while at the Capitol right around now, the vice president is

swearing in former Senator Dan Coats as the next director of National Intelligence in his ceremonial office. Former Senator Coats has clearly demonstrated the deep subject -- the subject-matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community, and the president is finally glad to have him on board as part of his team.

Later this evening, the president, along with Taoiseach Kenny will attend the St. Patrick's Day reception and participate in the annual Shamrock ceremony. Since 1952, the president has invited the Taoiseach to come to the White House in celebration of St. Patrick's Day, where they present a bowl of shamrocks as a symbol of the profound and lasting relationship between the two countries. The president and Taoiseach Kenny will also make remarks.

I have a few more notes before I get to Director Mulvaney. First, I wanted to share with you guys, it's a letter that should be going out shortly, if it hasn't already, that the resident signed this morning, wishing Ray Chavez, the oldest living survivor of Pearl Harbor, a happy 105th birthday. Our nation owes Mr. Chavez's generation, and he a great generation -- a debt of gratitude for extraordinary legacy of liberty, freedom around the world, fighting to ensure security and prosperity for millions. A copy of the letter will be sent out if it hasn't already, and obviously we all extend our warm wishes to Ray and his family as they celebrate his 105th, and the president signed a letter wishing he hopes to have several more birthdays to come.

This afternoon, the president announced his intent to nominate several individuals to key posts at the Department of Defense. Robert Daigle as the director of cost assessment and program evaluation, Elaine McCluster (ph) as principal of deputy undersecretary of defense, David Norquist as undersecretary of defense and controller, Kenneth Repano (ph) as assistant secretary of defense for homeland security -- homeland of defense and global security. Patrick Shanahan as deputy secretary of defense, and David Joel Trachtenberg as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.

The president is glad to have these extremely qualified men and women on board to assist Secretary Mattis as he undertakes the great rebuilding of our nation's military.

Also this afternoon, the president declared a major disaster in the state of California, and ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms, flooding and mudslides this January. We also announced this afternoon that Second Lady Karen Pence will lead the presidential delegation to the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.

The House Budget Committee met earlier this morning and approved the American Healthcare Act, making it now the third committee to move the ACA -- the AHCA forward. We're working hand in glove with the House to consider improvements, and we're confident that this thoughtful and thorough process will lead to legislation those reforms our healthcare, making it more affordable and accessible to every American.

Since we won't have a chance to meet tomorrow, in light of the president and Chancellor Merkel's press conference, I want to quickly walk you through a couple of events on the president's schedule. Tomorrow of course, the president will welcome German Chancellor Merkel here at the White House, rescheduling from the snow -- inclement weather that prevented that from happening the other day. The president and the chancellor have a series of meetings, and then will host a round table focusing on the importance of vocational training with both American and German business leaders. They will also have a press conference in the afternoon; we'll have details on the entire day later this afternoon.

Also tomorrow, the president will attend a listening session with Veteran's Affairs, and V.A. Secretary Shulkin and representatives from the various veteran services organizations. It's incredibly important to the president that we reform the V.A. so that they can fulfill the promises made to the women -- men and women who risk their lives for our nation. He looks forward to discussing potential changes that can help improve the veteran's administration.

On Monday, the president will meet with Bill Gates, the co- founder of Microsoft. He'll also have lunch with the vice president and a meeting with the secretary of state.

SPICER: Later that afternoon, the president will welcome Prime Minister Abadi of Iraq to the White House, and on Wednesday, the president has invited all 49 members of the Congressional Black Caucus to come to the White House for a meeting. The president looks forward to welcoming for what he hopes will be a productive discussion. And I also want to remind everyone that I did, yesterday, via Twitter, that the lottery for the 139th annual Easter Egg Roll is open until Saturday -- this coming Saturday.

Everyone who's interested in attending can go to Further information is at for details.

At his rally last night the president addressed the decision by the federal court -- the federal district court in Hawaii to block his lawfully execute -- executive order. As the president said last night, quote, "The law and the Constitution give the power -- the president the power to suspend immigration when he deems it to be necessary and in the national interest."

The court didn't even bother to quote the relevant statute in its opinion, which could of plainly shown that the president clearly has this authority.

I know you've heard it before, but since the court didn't, let me quote it again for you, 8 U.S. Code 1182 states quote, "Whenever the president finds the entry of aliens -- any aliens or class -- of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interest of the United States he may, by proclamation and for such period as he deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem appropriate," end quote. The Department of Justice quote, strongly -- said in a statement that they "strongly disagree with the federal district court's ruling which is flawed in both reasoning and scope."

DOJ continued, quote, "The president's executive order falls squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our nation's security, and the department will continue to defend his executive order in the courts. The department is exploring all available options to vigorously defend this executive order. We intend to appeal the flawed rulings."

Currently, the Department of Justice is determining the legal strategy and timing. We expect action to be taken soon to appeal the ruling in the 4th Circuit and to seek clarification of the order prior to appeal in the 9th Circuit.

The danger is real and the law is clear.

The president was elected to change our broken immigration system and he will continue to exercise his constitutional authority and presidential responsibility to protect our nation.

And just before I get to your questions and then before we'll introduce Director Mulvaney. I just want to follow up on a couple questions that have come up recently.

John Decker asked multiple times on the enforcement of the president's executive order to restrict lobbying activities of executive branch employees, which includes a five year ban on lobbying agencies where you served and a lifetime ban on lobbying from foreign governments.

I said I'd get back to John, so here we go.

The executive order itself has a section -- section five, which focuses on enforcement. The order outlines that each agency head is tasked with working with the Office of Government Ethics to establish procedures for determining potential violations of the ethics pledge.

Should a violation be determined, the executive order authorizes the Department of Justice to enforce the order through several mechanisms. Debarment proceedings, these would restrict and individual or his or her associated entities from doing business with the federal government, seeking an injunction such as a restraining order from lobbying for 10 years, the five years in the ethics agreement plus an additional five years, or civil penalties such as a fine commensurate with the nature of the violation. The president fully expects the Department of Justice to vigorously enforce this executive order.

Also yesterday several of you asked where the House is in regard to additional legislation as outlined in the third prong of the ACHA -- ACA and the president's plan to reform healthcare.

I'm pleased to note that last night, Leader McCarthy in the House introduced four pieces of legislation that will remove burdensome regulations, lower costs and increase access, as we've noted. The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act, H.R.372, which eliminates anti-trust protection for insurance provider, creating competition so that Americans are not left with just one choice for healthcare coverage.

The Small Business Health Fairness Act, H.R. 1101, which allows small business to band together and negotiate lower prices, the Protecting Access to Care Act, H.R. 1215, which limits frivolous lawsuits that unnecessarily drive up healthcare costs and the Self Insurance Protection Act, H.R. 1304, which protects workers who get their healthcare coverage from employers that self-insure by providing a backdrop (ph) on catastrophic losses. And, finally, in terms of following up from yesterday. In regard to the DOJ's indictments of Russian hackers on Yahoo data, this action demonstrates the United States commitment to identifying cyber criminals and bringing them to justice, no matter where they are.

It also highlights the criminal (ph) importance of international cooperation to our cyber regime. And like I said yesterday, as though (ph) this is a lawful enforcement action. Anything beyond that I would direct you to the Department of Justice and the FBI for further details.

SPICER: Before I continue, let me turn it over to Director Mulvaney to talk a little bit about the budget -- director.

MULVANEY: Thanks very much. Good afternoon, and happy day before St. Patrick's Day, also known as budget day. Most of you heard me talk about the budget before. So I'm not going to say too many things in opening before we get to your questions. But we will remind you that this what we're calling the "America First" budget.

We had America First and America First candidate. We now have an America First President and it shouldn't surprise anybody that we have an America First budget. You've seen the details. As we've talked about last week -- $54 billion of additional defense spending. We have some more details today on where that money is going.

We're seeing increases at the V.A., increases within the Department of Justice for law enforcement, increases within the Department of Homeland Security for things that include border security and immigration controls. Immigration is within -- excuse me -- increases within the Department of Energy to deal with a nuclear triad. And then corresponding reductions, similar amounts, offsetting dollar for dollar, in other programs.

The largest reduction, if you've seen the budget already, is a 31 percent reduction within the Environmental Protection Agency. The next largest reduction on a percentage basis is with the Department of State, and the other departments are reduced in lesser amounts. I think the smallest reduction we have is NASA, which is just less than one percent. But there again, as with many of the agencies, you'll see certain line items within those budgets plussed-up (ph).

This is the message the President wanted to send to the public, to the press, to Capitol Hill -- he wants more money for defense, more money for border enforcement, more money for law enforcement generally, more money for the vets, more money for school choice. And then, to offset that money with savings elsewhere, so that all of that is done without an additional dollar added to the deficit, as I've mentioned before.

This budget does not balance the budget. This budget simply reallocates and reprioritizes spending, as any family or business would do. This budget does not, for those of you who were not here last week, this budget does not address the big-picture items, such as policy changes, revenue flows, tax policy, mandatory spending. This is simply the top-line spending budget. That's why we call it the budget blueprint and not the full budget. The full budget, which will contain all the rest of those pieces and parts, will be released in May.

Before I take questions, I want to do something I don't ordinarily do and I'm sure is kind of new. I'm going to call on the New York Times because they're in trouble. Apparently -- is there -- where's my New York Times guy?

Matt Flegenheimer and Alan Rappeport --


MULVANEY: OK, are in big trouble. I'll give you the first question, but you have to deliver this message to them. They printed this morning that I'm the father of 17-year old triplet girls. My 17 year- old daughter really wishes that had happened, but my two 17-year- old sons are really upset. So, if you could a --


MULVANEY: -- if you could clarify that, that would be great. I'll give you the first question if you've got one. So, go ahead.

QUESTION: Well, we're not great at math obviously at the New York Times.


MULVANEY: The math was right. It's actually the gender that was wrong.


QUESTION: But sir, during the campaign, President Trump then candidate Trump talked about national debt, which of course will reach around $20 trillion. You mentioned it in your budget message this morning. Is there a plan -- as the president talked about during last year's campaign to actually eliminate the national debt in eight years? He said during the campaign it will be easy to actually eliminate the entire debt -- not the deficit, but the debt in eight years. Is that something that this president is actually committed to trying to do?

MULVANEY: It's a good question. It's a fair question. I would just suggest to you it's not the right time for the question. The budget blueprint, again, does not deal with the debt. It even doesn't even deal with the deficit. It is simply the first part of the appropriations process. We'll send this up to the Hill now and the appropriations committees of the House, the Senate. Of course the House controls the power of the purse. The -- I'm sorry, excuse me -- Congress controls the power of the purse. And this will be the first step in that process.

We will start to address the issues of the longer term deficit, longer term debt in that larger budget. Of course, we'll have to deal at that time with things like mandatory spending, tax policy, revenue flows to the government.

So again, it's a fair question, I just don't think now is the time to ask the question.

QUESTION: The 28 percent that comes out of the State Department. I know that you're leaving a lot of discretion to the people who are in charge there and all of these agencies who are having to put up these cuts, but how much is intended to come out of the foreign aid budget of that (ph) $10 billion.

MULVANEY: A lot of it. Keeping as -- I've said before, one of the reasons that you're seeing such a dramatic reduction in the State Department on a percentage basis is not that this president thinks that diplomacy is not important. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. We've already seen that Secretary Tillerson has had a tremendous -- one diplomatic success already on the deal he cut with Iraq.

MULVANEY: The president believes in diplomacy, and we believe that this budget protects that core function of the State Department. It just so happens that much of the foreign aid that the president talked about in the campaign, much of the money that goes to climate research, green energy, those types of things, they're actually in the State Department budget.

If those line items had been in the Department of Commerce, you would see Department of Commerce having gone down by that -- that -- by a similarly large percentage. So the answer to your question is that most of the cuts within the State Department try to focus directly on foreign aid.

Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Yes, the -- the budget showed a 0.8 percent in decrease for NASA. But you've also talked about the administration using private companies, such as SpaceX, for example for more of that. So does this show some, you know, is some of this gonna be shifted over to the private sector and does this show a commitment on the administrations part for its science in NASA?

MULVANEY: It does, again, if you go back and you do what we did which is go back to the president's speeches, the interviews he gave and just talking to him, we tried to identify his priorities. I mean one of the things he told us was look, I'm still interested in America being involved in space -- in space exploration. So even though the overall top line number at NASA is reduced by a small fraction -- I think it's 0.8 percent as you mentioned -- individual line items that deal with specifically space exploration are actually plussed up. And part of the -- part of the -- the intent there is to promote exactly what you just talked about.

Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Two questions, your own experience in the House tells you that a lot of these cuts haven't been voted for before. Do you consider this budget an opening bid and do you expect a lot of pushback even from Republicans on the specificity and the size of these cuts?

And secondly, to take your point about the president's words on the campaign, those of us who traveled around remember, said he didn't wanna touch those securities, Medicare, the big entitlements. The fact that that's not in this budget, is that a signal that those programs are gonna remain untouched and as the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said, that ignores 70 percent of spending and 90 percent of its growth over the next decade.

MULVANEY: I'll deal with the second one first, which the president is absolutely going to keep the promised he kept on the campaign trail. Again, you will see no reference in Social Security here, no reference to Medicare here, no reference to Medicaid here or any of the other mandatory programs, what some people call entitlement programs, because that's not what this budget is.

This is the discretionary part of the budget, half of which as you know, is defense and the other half is everything else, the alphabet soup of government. So just because it's not here, doesn't mean we're dodging the issue.

You would never see in any budget blueprint that deals with the top line spending numbers, social security, Medicare and Medicaid. To your other question about it not being popular on the Hill, yeah, I -- I can recognize that. I've been on the Hill enough to know that some of these are (ph) very unpopular.

Keep in mind, the president is a unique position. I've been a member of Congress, I represented 700,000 people in South Carolina. I had my constituency, it was a district. Senators represent an entire state. We're always dealing with special interests from back home, we're dealing with lobbyists from back home.

The president is beholden to none of that. The president is -- has drafted a budget for the entire nation because that's who he sees himself as representing. He did not have -- ask lobbyists for input on this. He did not ask special input -- special interest for input on this and he certainly didn't focus on how these programs might impact a specific congressional district.

But we know that going into it and again, the message we're sending to the Hill is, we want more money for the things the president talked about, defense being the top one, national security. And we don't wanna add to the budget deficit, if Congress has another way to do that, we're happy to talk to them about it.

Yes, sir, in the glasses?

QUESTION: James Banks (ph) from Alta Zero (ph). The United Nations says that the world's currently facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II, 20 million people in just four countries, facing starvation or famine.

And yet, you're cutting funding to the U.N. to come -- funding to the foreign aid budget. Are you worried that some of the most vulnerable people on earth will suffer as a result?

MULVANEY: We're absolutely producing funding to the U.N. and to the various foreign aid programs, including those run by the U.N. and other agencies. That should come as a surprise to no one who watched the campaign. The president said, specifically, hundreds of times, you covered him. I'm going to spend less money on people overseas and more money on people back home and that's exactly what we're going with this budget.

Yes, ma'am? Yes?

QUESTION: Given your focus on dollar for dollar offsets in fiscal '18, employers fiscal set (ph) fiscal year 2017 request, you didn't insist on dollar for dollar offsets. Why is that? Why are you not concerned about adding to the deficit in fiscal 2017?

MULVANEY: The -- the large part of the -- the point -- the question deals with the 2017 request, which is a $30 billion -- I think its actually $3 billion, billion and a half in there for the wall. And it's not entirely offset, there's a couple reasons for that.

One of them is time, another one is that some of that is what they call Overseas Contingency Operations, now, you also know that I have a somewhat colored history with the -- with the Overseas Contingency Operations. But I will tell you that we went through this and made sure that the money that's being requested is true OCO, means that its focused truly on the areas where we're involved overseas, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, those types of places.

So we have sent them $18 billion worth of proposed reductions for 2017. Not all of them were offset.

Yes, ma'am --

QUESTION: (inaudible). The President called for eliminating funding from the corporations with public broadcasting, and the national endowment for the arts. Yet the Republican Congress sent the President appropriations bills that fund CPB and NEA. Will he veto those bills and tell the Republican leadership to send bills that defund those things?

MULVANEY: I think the message the President sent right now is that we want to defund those, and there's completely defensible reasons for doing that. It's a simple message, by the way. I put myself in the shoes of that steelworker in Ohio, the coal miner -- the coal mining family in West Virginia, the mother of two in Detroit, and I'm saying, OK, I have to go ask these folks for money, and I have to tell them where I'm going to spend it. Can I really go to those folks, look them in the eye, and say look, I want to take money from you and I want to give it to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That is a really hard sell, in fact something we don't think we can defend anymore.

As to specific vetoes, you and I both know it doesn't come over one by one, line item by line item doesn't come over. They come over in large appropriations bills, and we'll work with Congress to go through the appropriations process and we'll make determinations on whether or not to sign appropriations bills or veto them at the appropriate time. Yes sir, in the --

QUESTION: There are several places in the budget where you're talking about eliminating funding for unauthorized programs. Are you laying down a marker about unauthorized programs, and do you think spending discipline would be improved if Congress authorized everything that was --

MULVANEY: We hope so. For those of you who aren't familiar with this, we actually spend a lot of money in the federal government that's on programs that aren't authorized at all. Remember, spending is sort of -- to break it down, it's sort of a three-step process to spend money. You have to budget for it first, then you have to authorize it, and then you have to appropriate it.

But a lot of the programs that we spent money on for years have been unauthorized spending. Either they used to be authorized -- actually most of them used to be authorized and then they simply lapsed -- and some of them were just never authorized in the first place. They simply were appropriated without any authorization.

And yes, the message is, that's not the right way to do it. In fact, we think that's the wrong way to do it. You heard the President talk specifically on the campaign trail about at least five percent reductions for unauthorized programs, and that's what generated this budget.

QUESTION: Director Mulvaney, you talk about this budget basically keeping the promises the President made during the course of the campaign. The housing and urban development -- from housing and urban development, this budget blueprint calls for a 13 percent reduction, $6 billion. During the course of the campaign, President Trump said, specifically to urban black voters, he says, what do you have to lose? It turns out what they had to lose is at least $6 billion that goes to many programs that benefit those communities. What do you say to those Americans who feel that --

MULVANEY: Nobody's going to get kicked out of their houses. What we did when we looked at the HUD budget was try to figure out a way to spend money better, and what we saw -- and I talked to Dr. Carson about this just today, what we saw when we went through the analysis of the HUD budget, is that a lot of their money got spent on government housing and building. It's actually infrastructure. And what Senator Carson -- excuse me, senator -- what Secretary Carson

and I talked about is figuring out a way to do that better. And as we did that, what we realized was, we are working on a large infrastructure program that we hope to run -- roll out this summer. And what Secretary Carson wants to do is take the money for the infrastructure that's in HUD right now -- and not very well run -- and move that into this larger program.

In fact, you'll see the same line items, or similar line items, the Department of Transportation for the same reason. These do not mean the President's changing his commitment to infrastructure. Again, far from it. What we're saying is, look, for years and years, we have built infrastructure like this and it doesn't work very well --


Let me finish and I'll get (ph) back to you. And then, so what we're doing now is we're taking it out of the discretionary budget and we're going to move it into the larger infrastructure plan this summer.

QUESTION: -- housing and urban development and the community development block grants aren't exclusively about housing. They support a variety of different programs, including in part Meals on Wheels that affects a lot of Americans. In Austin, Texas today, one organization there that delivers those meals to thousands of elderly says that those citizens will no longer be able to be provided those meals. So what do you say to those Americans who are ultimately losing out, not on housing, but on other things that are taken out of the budget?

MULVANEY: Right. And as you know -- or I think you know, that Meals on Wheels is not a federal program. It's part of that community, that CDBG, the block grants that we give to the states. And what -- and many states make the decision to use that money on Meals on Wheels.

Here's what I can tell you about CDBG's, because that's what we fund, right, is that we spent $150 billion on those programs since the 1970s. These are -- the CDBG's have been identified as programs since I believe the first -- actually the second Bush administration as ones that were just not showing any results.

[15:30:00] We can't do that anymore. We can't spend money on programs just because they sound good and great.