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Tenn. lawmakers debate morality of President Trump's first budget


  WASHINGTON, DC  (WMOT)  --  Morality more so than numbers seems to be the focus of discussion as the nation debates President Donald Trump’s first federal budget proposal.

Tennessee Republican Rep. Diane Black chairs the powerful House Budget Committee. On Wednesday she welcomed White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as he introduced the budget to Congress.

In her opening remarks, Black was the first to suggest the notion that the federal budget might have moral implications. She said the Trump budget makes good on Republican promises to reign in federal spending.

“And what’s the result of more spending, more regulation and slower economic growth? It’s a large debt burden on the future generation of Americans, a burden that reflects a moral failure to face head-on our challenges.”

White House Budget Director Mulvaney also took up the theme of morality in his opening remarks, equating federal deficit spending to stealing from taxpayers.

“Here’s the moral side of it. If I take money from you and I have no intention of ever giving it back, that is not debt, that is theft. And what we've been doing for too long -- both parties, by the way, in this city -- is taking money from people without laying out a plan about how we're ever going to pay it back."

As you might image, the Budget Committee’s Democrats were scathing in their assessment of President Trump’s first budget. Washington State Democrat Pramila Jayapal also brought morality into the discussion.

“This budget starts by taking away health care, then food, then housing, then education, then job opportunities. ...the level of cuts to investments in Americans need is astonishing and frankly immoral.”

Democrats aren’t the only ones questioning the Trump budget’s austerity. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker says the upper chamber will "never" agree to such drastic cuts in federal spending.