Trump bud­get to boost de­fense, slash else­where

Mil­i­tary spend­ing to in­crease by 10%; cuts to nearly ev­ery agency

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Dono­van Slack @dono­vanslack USA TO­DAY Con­tribut­ing: David Jack­son

Pres­i­dent Trump signed off on top-line num­bers in a bud­get out­line that seeks to make good on his cam­paign prom­ises by in­creas­ing mil­i­tary spend­ing by 10% and off­set­ting the cost with deep cuts to other agen­cies across the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

“This bud­get will be a pub­lic safety and na­tional se­cu­rity bud­get, very much based on those two with plenty of other things but very strong,” Trump said Mon­day. “And it will in­clude a his­toric in­crease in de­fense spend­ing to re­build the de­pleted mil­i­tary of the United States of Amer­ica at a time we most need it.”

He said he will lay out more de­tail Tues­day dur­ing a prime-time ad­dress to a joint ses­sion of Congress.

“This de­fense spend­ing in­crease will be off­set and paid for by find­ing greater sav­ings and ef­fi­cien­cies across the fed­eral gov­ern­ment,” Trump said. “We’re go­ing to do more with less.”

The White House said the bud­get out­line in­cludes a $54 bil­lion in­crease in de­fense spend­ing and an equiv­a­lent cut in non-de­fense, dis­cre­tionary spend­ing. That would mean the dis­cre­tionary bud­get of $1.064 tril­lion would re­main un­changed.

As part of the pro­posed cuts, which would af­fect nearly ev­ery agency, the ad­min­is­tra­tion will seek to de­crease for­eign aid, some­thing the pres­i­dent ref­er­enced Mon­day morn­ing dur­ing a meet­ing with gov­er­nors at the White House. Trump said the bud­get “puts Amer­ica first by keep­ing tax dol­lars in Amer­ica.”

It in­cludes in­vest­ments in law en­force­ment and the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs.

“We can do so much more with the money we spend,” Trump said. “With $20 tril­lion in debt — can you imag­ine that? — the gov­ern­ment must learn to tighten its belt, some­thing fam­i­lies all across the coun­try have had to learn to do, un­for­tu­nately.”

The White House sent the num­bers Mon­day to in­di­vid­ual agen­cies, which will be tasked with fill­ing in the de­tails of where cuts and in­creases would be made be­fore the White House fi­nal­izes the bud­get pro­posal and sends it to Congress in the coming weeks. Congress will be re­spon­si­ble for de­bat­ing and pass­ing spend­ing bills, on which Trump would have the fi­nal sign-off.

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y, didn’t wait to hear more de­tails. He said Trump’s pro­posed cuts — roughly 10% of non-de­fense, dis­cre­tionary spend­ing — would take “a meat ax to pro­grams that ben­e­fit the mid­dle class.”

“A cut this steep al­most cer­tainly means cuts to agen­cies that pro­tect con­sumers from Wall Street ex­cess and pro­tect clean air and wa­ter,” Schumer said in a state­ment Mon­day. “This bud­get pro­posal is a re­flec­tion of ex­actly who this pres­i­dent is and what to­day’s Repub­li­can Party be­lieves in: help­ing the wealthy and spe­cial in­ter­ests while putting fur­ther bur­dens on the mid­dle class and those strug­gling to get there.”

Among agen­cies whose fund­ing could be on the chop­ping block are the De­part­ments of Agri­cul­ture, Ed­u­ca­tion, In­te­rior, Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment and State.

Mick Mul­vaney, di­rec­tor of the White House Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Bud­get, said the bud­get out­line num­bers do not take into ac­count rev­enue pro­jec­tions from promised tax cuts or added spend­ing on in­fra­struc­ture. Nor do they rely on any fi­nan­cial im­pact from a re­peal-and-re­place of the Af­ford­able Care Act. He said those items would be in­cluded in a “full-blown” bud­get pro­posal that would be sub­mit­ted to Congress in May.

“With $20 tril­lion in debt ... the gov­ern­ment must learn to tighten its belt, some­thing fam­i­lies all across the coun­try have had to learn to do, un­for­tu­nately.” Pres­i­dent Trump

EVAN VUCCI, AP

Pres­i­dent Trump tells the Na­tional Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion his bud­get “puts Amer­ica first by keep­ing tax dol­lars in Amer­ica.”

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