Soldiers salute the US flag.
Soldiers salute the US flag.

Surge in Trump Military Budget

Trump brings the total defense budget to a record $603 billion while domestic programs and foreign aid would as a whole absorb a $54 billion (10%) cut from currently projected levels, cuts that would match the military increase

Surge in Trump Military Budget

US President Donald Trump is proposing a huge $54 billion surge in US military spending for new aircraft, ships and fighters in his first federal budget while slashing big chunks from domestic programs and foreign aid to make the government “do more with less”.
The Trump blueprint, due in more detail next month, would fulfill the Republican president’s campaign pledge to boost Pentagon spending while targeting the budgets of other federal agencies.
The “topline” figures emerged on Monday, one day before Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress, an opportunity to reemphasize the economic issues that were a centerpiece of his White House run, AP reported.
Domestic programs and foreign aid would as a whole absorb a $54 billion (10%) cut from currently projected levels—cuts that would match the military increase. The cuts would be felt far more deeply by programs and agencies targeted by Trump and his fellow Republicans, like the Environmental Protection Agency as well as foreign aid.
Veterans’ programs would be exempted, as would border security, additional law enforcement functions and some other areas.
“We’re going to start spending on infrastructure big. It’s not like we have a choice—our highways, our bridges are unsafe, our tunnels,” the president told a group of governors at the White House on Monday.
“We’re going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people.”
However, Trump’s final version of the budget is sure to leave large deficits intact—or even add to them if he follows through on his campaign promise for a huge tax cut.
His plan faces strong opposition from Democrats who possess the power to block it. The immediate reaction from Republicans was mixed, with prominent defense hawks like Sen. John McCain of Arizona saying it would do too little to help the Pentagon and fiscal conservatives and supporters of domestic agencies expressing caution.
The White House indicated that the foreign aid cuts would be particularly large.
A congressional showdown is inevitable later this year and a government shutdown a real possibility.
White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the spike in Pentagon spending would bring the total defense budget to a record $603 billion and that’s before including tens of billions of dollars for overseas military operations.
The United States already spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined, but military leaders have complained repeatedly that aircraft are aging.
“It is a true America first budget. It will show the president is keeping his promises and will do exactly what he said he was going to do,” Mulvaney said.
“It prioritizes rebuilding our military, including restoring our nuclear capabilities, protecting the nation and securing the border, enforcing the laws currently on the books, taking care of vets and increasing school choice.”
The border wall would cost $2.9 billion in 2018, according to draft documents for the Department of Homeland Security, which assume the agency would hire 500 new members of the Border Patrol and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents next year.
There’s expected to be an immediate infusion of 2017 cash for the Pentagon of $20 billion or more, and also the first wave of funding for Trump’s promised border wall and other initiatives like hiring immigration agents.

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