Trump Seeks Big Hike in Defense Spending

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By Debbie Gregory.

President Trump said that he is putting “America first” through his proposed budget, which will focus on defense, law enforcement and veterans, using funds previously spent abroad.

According to the White House, President Trump is proposing to increase the defense budget by 10 percent. Trump also will request $30 billion in supplementary military spending for fiscal 2017, an administration official said.

Preliminary budget outlines are usually little-noticed administrative exercises, the first step in negotiations between the White House and federal agencies that usually shave the sharpest edges off the initial request.

But this plan — a product of a collaboration between the Office of Management and Budget director, Mick Mulvaney; the National Economic Council director, Gary Cohn; and the White House chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon — is intended to make a big splash for a president eager to show that he is a man of action.

Defense spending accounts for almost the same proportion of the federal budget as all non-discretionary domestic spending, meaning that the Trump administration’s proposal will result in a roughly 10 percent across-the-board cut in all other federal spending programs.

Resistance from federal agencies could ease some of the deepest cuts in the initial plan before a final budget request is even sent to Congress. And Capitol Hill will have the last word.

The president’s proposed defense spending increase is just part of his full 2018 budget proposal to Congress that won’t be ready until May. At that point Congress will debate what parts should be adopted and what won’t pass muster with a majority of lawmakers in the House or Senate.

To meet Mr. Trump’s defense request, lawmakers in both parties would have to agree to raise or end statutory spending caps on defense and domestic programs that were imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

President-Elect Trump’s Plan for Military Spending Boost

An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the Guantanamo prison against critics who want it closed by saying U.S. taxpayers have a big financial stake in it and no other facility could replace it at a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. REUTERS/Jason Reed JIR/CN - RTREIPO

By Debbie Gregory.

President-elect Donald Trump plan to “rebuild” the military with new fighter jets, ships and troops may not get too much opposition from the Republican-led Congress.

Trump’s Defense Department spending plans include 350 new Navy ships, 1,200 aircraft, equipment and weapons for at least 65,000 new Army soldiers and at least 13,000 more Marines, expected to come with a price tag in the neighborhood of $90 billion per year in spending increases.

He would, however, have to prevail over GOP fiscal hawks who have an aversion to deficit spending, as well as Democrats who want equality for both defense and non-defense spending.

Trump’s campaign proposed an action plan for the first 100 days, including a Restoring National Security Act, aimed at “eliminating the defense sequester” — assumed to mean repeal of the Budget Control Act and its multi-year caps — “and expanding military investment.” It would also expand health care options for veterans, protect infrastructure from cyberattacks and impose politically charged screening on immigrants.

Major defense companies’ stocks shot up in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory, and for good reason, as experts predict firms like General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin will secure hefty contracts and boost hiring.

Following Trump’s win, Lockheed Martin shares gained 6 percent, Raytheon added 7.5 percent, and Northrop Grumman advanced 5.4 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls led the charge with a rise of 11.4 percent.

With that said, Trump faces an uphill battle convincing Democrats and fiscal conservatives in Congress that increasing the nation’s defense budget by billions of dollars is smart policy.

In service of Trump’s peace-through-strength approach, his proposed military buildup features an active-duty Army of 540,000 soldiers, a Navy of 350 ships, an Air Force fleet of 1,200 fighter aircraft and a Marine Corps stocked with 36 battalions. He has also said he also will build a “state-of-the-art missile defense system” and modernize the Navy’s cruisers to provide ballistic missile defense capabilities.

The proposed defense buildup will have natural allies in the armed services committees, and it dovetails with the traditional Republican argument that the military is overstretched, suffering from a critical readiness shortfall and in dire need of expansion.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Defense Spending Bill Showdown: Military Connection

Defense Spending

By Debbie Gregory.

The Senate and House Armed Services committees have reconciled their versions of the National Defense Authorization Act, setting the stage for a veto showdown with the Obama Administration.

The House passed the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act Thursday after the House and Senate Armed Services committees reached agreement on a final conference report earlier this week.

On September 30th, t This year, the White House urged Republicans to lift federal budget caps for the Pentagon and non-defense spending in 2016. The Republican-proposed budget would leave those caps in place for non-defense spending but boost defense spending through a war fund not subject to those caps established in 2011.

President Obama has issued a veto threat against the bill, which senior administration officials warn he will follow through on. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Wednesday he has already recommended that the president veto it.

In regards to what would happen if the president does veto the bill, a senior staffer on the House Armed Service Committee said, “We’ll see what happens and move from there.”

The current version of the bill would keep the ban on bringing detainees from Guantanamo to the United States for another year. According to Sen. McCain, the Obama administration did not deliver a plan on where to house the detainees.

Other provisions of the bill would continue a ban on transfers to Yemen and add bans on transfers to Syria, Libya and Somalia. It would also allow one-year increases in military healthcare prescription co-pays. It would allow troops who serve fewer than 20 years to receive some retirement benefits, and allow troops to be able to take a lump sum payment after 20 years instead of waiting until they are 60 years old.

The bill would also allow the U.S. to provide arms to Ukraine; provide for coordination between the DoD and VA on mental health issues; allow troops on U.S. bases to carry arms, and ban torture by any U.S. agency.