President Donald Trump has instructed aides to prepare for sweeping budget cuts if he wins a second term in the White House, five people briefed on the discussions said, a move that would dramatically reverse the big-spending approach he adopted during his first 30 months in office.
Trump's advisers say he will be better positioned to crack down on spending and shrink or eliminate certain agencies after next year, particularly if Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives.
But this second-term ambition is already seeding confusion about how the White House should approach the current slate of negotiations, in which some conservatives want Trump to push for spending restraint.
Instead, Trump is advocating swiftly lifting the federal debt ceiling, which would allow for more spending and borrowing. Trump, who was once a fierce promoter of refusing the raise the debt ceiling without winning concessions, said the opposite on Friday, telling reporters that "it's a sacred element of our country. They can't use the debt ceiling to negotiate."