Trump Requests “Historic” Increase in Military Spending

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In his first budget proposal to Congress, President Trump is hoping to increase military spending by $54 billion, a 9 percent rise which state governors at the White House are calling “historic,” according to Reuters.

The president said in a speech on Friday that he is seeking “one of the greatest military buildups in American history.” He said the budget will focus on public safety and national security.

On Monday, more than 120 retired U.S. generals and admirals asked Congress to fully fund U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid in the effort to keep Americans safe by “elevating and strengthening diplomacy and development alongside defense.”

Cuts to the State Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and other non-defense related agencies would fund the increase in Pentagon spending. Annual State Department and foreign assistance budgets total approximately $50 billion.

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“Defense spending in the most recent fiscal year was $584 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office, so Trump’s planned $54 billion increase would be a rise of 9.2 percent. The next fiscal year starts in October,” said the report. It typically takes a few months to negotiate a new budget, and Congress makes the final decision on its passage.

The report noted that special forces and the Air Force are currently engaged in fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “An official familiar with the proposal said Trump’s request for the Pentagon included more money for shipbuilding, military aircraft, and establishing ‘a more robust presence in key international waterways and chokepoints’ such as the Strait of Hormuz and South China Sea.” Critics are concerned that such actions may cause problems with Iran and China.

Trump said that in his speech to Congress on Tuesday, he will propose an increase in infrastructure spending.

According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who spoke to Fox News on Sunday, Trump’s budget will not make cuts to federal social programs, including Social Security and Medicare.

H/T: Reuters

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