Oct. 17 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday called for Cabinet members to institute budget cuts of at least 5 percent for their departments next year.
Speaking to press before a Cabinet meeting, Trump said he would ask every secretary to make a cut of 5 percent "if not more" in 2019 after data released by the Treasury Department on Monday showed the U.S. budget deficit rose rose to its highest level in six years.
Trump added the Defense Department's budget "will probably be $700 billion," down from its current funding at $716 billion.
"Get rid of the fat. Get rid of the waste," Trump said during the meeting, according to The Wall Street Journal. "It'll have a huge impact."
On Monday, the Treasury Department released data showing the U.S. budget deficit rose to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, the highest level since 2012.
The Republican tax bill, bipartisan spending increases and rising interest payments on the national debt were cited as reasons for the growing deficit.
"It's disappointing, but it's not a Republican problem," McConnell said. "It's a bipartisan problem: unwillingness to address the real drivers of the debt by doing anything to adjust those programs to the demographics of America in the future."
Trump told reporters Democrats forced him to spend more than he wanted to on domestic programs in order to secure the increase in Defense Department funding.
"I had to do that in order to get the $700 and the $716 billion, those numbers have never been heard of before," Trump said. "I had to give the Democrats, I call it 'waste money,' and things that I would have approved, but we had to do that in order to get the votes because we don't have enough Republican votes to do this without them."
Trump will unveil his budget proposal for the next fiscal year early in 2019 and lawmakers will then write their own spending bills which Trump can sign or veto.