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.

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