White House Calls for $54B Bump in "Defense" Spending, Sharp Domestic Cuts - Counter Information

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

White House Calls for $54B Bump in "Defense" Spending, Sharp Domestic Cuts




Military Industrial Complex Wins:


The Trump administration has not said how much money it will ask Congress to spend in total.

By Alex Guillén, Sarah Ferris and Jeremy Herb


February 27, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Politico" - The White House took its first steps Monday toward what would be a dramatic reshuffling of the $3 trillion-plus federal budget, sending guidance to agencies that calls for a $54 billion increase in defense spending and corresponding reductions to most non-security agencies.

While Office of Management and Budget officials briefed reporters on the plan this morning, President Donald Trump publicly explained his proposal to focus federal spending on national security, including boosts to the military, local law enforcement and the Border Patrol, while cutting domestic programs and foreign aid. Trump has said his budget will not include cuts to Medicare or Social Security, the usual targets of Republicans trying to trim federal spending.

“This budget follows through on my promise of keeping America safe, keeping out terrorists, keeping out criminals and putting violent offenders behind bars or removing them from our country altogether,” he said.

The White House has not yet defined the depth of cuts to particular programs. But some targets, such as the EPA, are in the cross-hairs of conservative groups that want severe reductions in programs such as the Obama administration's climate initiatives.

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said Monday afternoon the Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget would include $462 billion in domestic funding and $603 billion in defense spending.

The proposed defense total is a $54 billion increase above the Budget Control Act spending caps for defense. Mulvaney called it one of the “largest increases in history.”

But the Obama administration also proposed a defense budget that busted the spending caps in fiscal 2018, and defense hawks in Congress were not happy with Monday’s announcement.

“Such a budget request would represent an increase of $18.5 billion above the level proposed by President Obama for fiscal year 2018,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a statement. “In other words, President Trump intends to submit a defense budget that is a mere 3 percent above President Obama’s defense budget, which has left our military underfunded, undersized, and unready to confront threats to our national security.”

McCain and House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) have proposed a defense budget of $640 billion for fiscal 2018.

Trump said the proposed increase in military spending “will be offset and paid for by finding greater savings and efficiencies across the federal government.” He didn’t offer specifics, though he pointed to recent attempts to negotiate military contracts, adding, “We cut the hell out of the prices.”

OMB officials declined to comment on how hard the funding reductions would hit the EPA, which now has an $8.1 billion budget. But they did note the proposal would conform to Trump’s campaign pledges to take an ax to the agency. (The president promised on the campaign trail to "get rid of it in almost every form," leaving only "little tidbits left.")

Foreign aid, which makes up about 1 percent of the federal budget, will also be heavily targeted. “This budget expects the rest of the world to step up in some of the programs this country has been so generous in funding in the past,” an OMB official said.

The president said he would “substantially” increase spending to law enforcement, on the local and federal levels, blasting violent crime in urban areas like Chicago.

The Trump administration has not said how much money it will ask Congress to spend in total, or from where the cuts would come. Administration officials have said Trump’s budget blueprint will not touch entitlement programs or other mandatory spending, which makes up about two-thirds of federal spending each year.

Trump hinted that he would provide some additional details in his joint address to Congress on Tuesday night, when he is expected to lay out his priorities for his first year.

The White House will propose a full budget “later in the year,” but the budget “blueprint” agencies will now work on is expected by mid-March, the OMB officials said.

Trump hinted that budget would adhere to fiscal standards, in line with previous remarks from close advisers like OMB Director Mick Mulvaney.

“With the $20 trillion in debt, the government must learn to tighten its belt,” Trump said.

But he also made clear he planned to stick with his big-ticket agenda items like infrastructure.

Lamenting the state of the nation’s roads, bridges and tunnels, Trump promised massive investments nationwide.

“We’re going to take care of that. We’re going to start spending on infrastructure, big,” Trump said.

© 2017 POLITICO LLC



Ed note; The image embedded in this article by ICH, did not appear in the original item.




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