Trump to boost military spending, cut EPA budget, foreign aid

In a move described as “historic,” President Trump is proposing to raise military spending by $20 billion to $603 billion for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1, 2017.

Officials familiar with Trump’s proposed spending measure say the administration plans on increases for expanding the Navy and on aircraft to meet growing challenges in the Middle East and in the Pacific.

The president recently renewed his vow to raise military spending without cutting entitlement programs. According to the director of the federal Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget outline calls for $462 billion in domestic spending.

The proposed defense increase would amount to a three percent jump from current spending levels, above the current rate of inflation of 2.5 percent and $54 billion more than levels set by the Budget Control Act of 2011.   The military budget for 2016 was $584 billion.

Blasting the plan as inadequate for military needs, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he would oppose the plan:

“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 added he feared the White House plan would be opposed in the Senate and had expected the military budget to rise to $640 billion.

Democrats also criticized the motion, arguing Mr. Trump’s spending plan would cut into needed budgetary priorities, namely education and the environment.

A White House budget official said the upsurge in defense spending proposed by the administration would be offset by dramatic cuts in foreign aid and non-defense spending, including EPA programs, an agency that was allocated an $8.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2017.

The spending increase comes at a time in which Trump has called for rebuilding the military by raising troops levels in both the Army and the Marine Corps.  Trump is believed to seek an increase in the Army by 60,000 and swell the ranks of the Marines by as many as 10,000.

 

[Reuters] [Politico] [Photo courtesy Politico/Getty Images]