Intelligence official warns Trump administration on national debt

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats used a Senate hearing Tuesday to do something unusual: take a swipe at both the Trump administration and Congress for allowing federal deficits and debt to spiral upward.

Just one day after President Donald Trump submitted a budget that fails to balance spending and revenue in the next decade — and less than a week after Congress struck a spending deal that would drive up the national debt by more than $500 billion — the former Republican senator from Indiana said Washington’s lack of fiscal discipline undermines national security.

"I’m concerned that our increasingly fractious political process, particularly with respect to federal spending, is threatening our ability to properly defend our nation, both in the short-term and especially in the long-term,” Coats said in his opening statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Coats did not mention specific moves seen as driving up annual deficits, as a tax bill passed by Republicans along party lines last December and touted by Trump as his administration’s most significant achievement. It is projected to raise the national debt by $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

"The failure to address our long-term fiscal situation has increased the national debt to over $20 trillion and growing,” Coats said. “This situation is unsustainable, as I think we all know, and represents a dire threat to our economic and national security."

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