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Trump Budget Will Hike Defense Spending by $54 Billion

President Donald Trump has taken the wraps off a $500 billion spending plan that includes a whopping $54 billion increase in defense spending funded by sweeping cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid.

(CN) — President Donald Trump has taken the wraps off a $500 billion spending plan that includes a whopping $54 billion increase in defense spending funded by sweeping cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid.

In a conference call with reporters Monday morning, White House budget officials said more granular details on Trump's proposal for Defense Department and other agency funding will be spelled out in a partial submission to Congress next month.

Proposals on taxes and other programs will come later, said the officials, who spoke with reporters anonymously.

But on Monday, Trump hinted to governors meeting with him at the White House that he's also likely reveal additional details during Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

But on Monday, Trump was clearly in bullish, commander-in-chief mode.

"When I was in high school and college, everybody used to say we never lost a war," he told the governors. "You remember? America never lost. And now we never win a war. And we don't fight to win. We either gotta [sic] win or not fight at all."

"This budget follows through on my promise to keep Americans safe," Trump added. "It will include a historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military of the United States at the time we most need it."

The increase of about 10 percent for the Pentagon would fulfill a Trump campaign promise to build up the military.

In speaking with the governors, Trump did not miss the opportunity to assess U.S. military efforts in the Middle East.

"We're 17 years fighting in the Middle East. We're up to $6 trillion in spending and I want to tell you: that's just unacceptable. And we're nowhere," he said. "Actually, if you think about, we're less than nowhere. The Middle East is far worse than it was 17 years ago."

Senior budget officials said the proposed budget cuts would not impact Medicare or Social Security, but that there will be a large reduction in foreign aid and that most domestic agencies will have to absorb cuts.

While they did not go into details, it has been widely reported in recent days that the administration is likely to dramatically trim funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Endowment of the Arts, National Public Radio, and the Public Broadcasting System.

The tentative proposals for the 2018 budget year that begins Oct. 1 are being sent to agencies, which will have a chance to propose changes.

In Congress, 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.

"It is clear from this budget blueprint that President Trump fully intends to break his promises to working families by taking a meat ax to programs that benefit the middle class," said Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of New York. "A cut this steep almost certainly means cuts to agencies that protect consumers from Wall Street excess and protect clean air and water."

The upcoming submission covers the budget year starting on Oct. 1. But first there's an April 28 deadline to finish up spending bills for the ongoing 2017 budget year, which is almost half over. Any stumble or protracted battle there could risk a government shutdown as well.

The March budget plan is also expected to include an immediate infusion of 2017 cash for the Pentagon that's expected to register about $20 billion or so, and to contain the first wave of funding for Trump's promised border wall and other initiatives like hiring immigration agents.

Categories / National, Politics

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