President Donald Trump is introducing an increase of $54 billion to the defense budget, while imposing cuts to social programs like the foreign aid.
The defense budget would be increased by 10% and Trump is planning on requesting a supplementary $30 billion for military spending in 2017.
White House officials made the announcement while on a call with reporters.
Right after the phone call, Trump discussed the move while addressing the nation’s governors at the White House.
“This budget will be a public safety and national security budget,” said Trump. He also said the introduced plan will include a “historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military.”
Trump said the country needed to be better prepared to deter war, but also be able to “finish things” when needed.
“We’ve got to win or don’t fight it at all,” said Trump.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said the increase in defense budget of $603 billion is “one of the largest increases in history” and the non-defense spending cut of $54 billion would be “the largest proposed reduction since the early years of the Reagan administration.”
So where will the administration be pulling funds from?
“It reduces money that we give to other nations. It reduces duplicative programs. And it eliminates programs that simply don’t work,” said Mulvaney, while not going into too much detail.
On his campaign trail, Trump repeatedly promised to build up the military.
“The president and his Cabinet are working collaboratively to create a budget that keeps the president’s promises to secure the country and restore fiscal sanity to how we spend American taxpayers’ money,” said John Czwartacki, Office of Management and Budget spokesman.
This looks like the beginning of doing just that, but he is bound to get pushback from Democrats.
“Tentative proposals for the 2018 budget year that begins Oct. 1 are being sent to agencies, which will have a chance to propose changes to the cuts as part of a longstanding tradition at the budget office,” writes Newsmax.
“Trump’s budget, once finalized and sent to Congress in mid-March, is sure to set off a huge Washington battle. Democrats and some Republicans are certain to resist the cuts to domestic agencies, and any legislation to implement them would have to overcome a filibuster threat by Senate Democrats. A government shutdown is a real possibility.”
However, the proposed budget change won’t impact Social Security or Medicare programs, another promise Trump made during his campaign.
“We will be substantially upgrading all of our military, all of our military, offensive, defensive, everything, bigger and better and stronger than ever before,” said Trump.
So far Trump has been vague about which departments the additional money go to, but there has been some speculation.
“The Pentagon is due for a huge boost, as Trump promised during the campaign. But many nondefense agencies and foreign aid programs are facing cuts, including at the State Department. The specific numbers aren’t final and agencies will have a chance to argue against the cuts as part of a longstanding tradition at the budget office,” writes Fox News.
“Left unclear is how such a military increase would square with the requirements of “sequestration,” the mandatory across-the-board spending caps agreed to by Congress and the Obama administration. At the same time, defense hawks on Capitol Hill questioned whether Trump’s proposed boost – which would seek a fiscal 2018 defense budget of $603 billion – would be enough.”
Even with the little details known, Democrats are already up in arms about which programs will lose funding.
“A cut this steep almost certainly means cuts to agencies that protect consumers from Wall Street excess and protect clean air and water,” said Charles E. Schumer, Senate Minority Leader (D-N.Y.)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expressed similar concerns.
“A $54 billion cut will do far-reaching and long-lasting damage to our ability to meet the needs of the American people and win the jobs of the future,” said Pelosi in a statement. “The President is surrendering America’s leadership in innovation, education, science and clean energy.”
Some believe that the increase in military budget is not enough and will also project sizable deficits.
But this is all assumptions at this point. Trump will be releasing his final budget proposal in mid-March.
“The March release is also expected to include an immediate infusion of cash for the Pentagon that’s expected to register about $20 billion or so and contain the first wave of funding for Trump’s promised border wall and other initiatives like hiring immigration agents,” writes Fox News.
Author’s note: Trump is showing that again he is keeping his campaign trail promises. With threats coming from ISIS, North Korea, etc – we should not only ramp up our defense for the country’s protection, but also to make a statement. It looks like Trump is planning to make America strong again.