US military set for budget boost

March 1, 2017 3:32 pm

The cuts would be felt far more deeply by programmes and agencies targeted by Trump and his fellow Republicans. Photo / AP

President Donald Trump is proposing a $54 billion ($75b) surge in spending for new aircraft, ships and fighters in his first federal budget while slashing big chunks from domestic programmes and foreign aid to make the Government “do more with less”.
The Trump blueprint, due in more detail later this month, would fulfil his campaign pledge to boost Pentagon spending while targeting the budgets of other federal agencies. The “topline” figures emerged yesterday.
Domestic programmes and foreign aid would as a whole absorb a 10 per cent, US$54b cut from currently projected levels – cuts that would match the military increase.
The cuts would be felt far more deeply by programmes and agencies targeted by Trump and his fellow Republicans, such as the Environmental Protection Agency as well as foreign aid.

Trumps plan faces strong opposition from Democrats, who possess the power to block it. The reaction from Republicans was mixed, with prominent defence hawks such as Senator John McCain saying it would do too little to help the Pentagon, and fiscal conservatives and supporters of domestic agencies expressing caution.Veterans’ programmes, border security, additional law enforcement functions and some other areas would be exempted.
White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the spike in Pentagon spending would bring the total defence budget to a record US$603b – and that’s before including tens of billions of dollars for overseas military operations.
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