Trump Pledges Boost in Military and Infrastructure Spending, Cut in Foreign Aid

from – The Daily Signal – by Fred Lucas

President Donald Trump’s first budget will boost military spending by $54 billion and pay for it by scaling back nondiscretionary spending—including cuts to foreign aid—the president and his budget director said.

“This defense spending increase will be offset and paid for by finding greater savings and efficiencies across the federal government,” Trump said Monday morning announcing his budget proposal.

“We’re going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the American people,” Trump said. “We can do so much more with the money we spend.”

The budget blueprint lays out administration priorities for each agency to follow. The full budget proposal will be presented in May, according to Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

“It is an America first budget,” Mulvaney told reporters during the White House press briefing. “It will show the president is keeping his budget and doing exactly what he said he was going to do when he ran for office.”

Mulvaney said the budget will also secure the border, take care of veterans, and increase school choice.

“It does all of that without adding to the currently projected [fiscal year] 2018 deficit,” Mulvaney said.

Top-line defense discretionary spending will be $603 billion, a $54 billion increase for the military. Top-line nondefense discretionary spending will be $462 billion, which is a $54 billion savings, under the pending proposal. That’s the largest proposed budget reduction since the Ronald Reagan administration, Mulvaney said.

More details will come in Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night. But, during his Monday morning remarks in a National Governors Association meeting, Trump pledged the budget would include infrastructure funding.

“We spend $6 trillion in the Middle East and we have potholes all over our roads,” Trump said. “So we are going to take care of that. We are going to start spending on infrastructure big.”

The Daily Signal asked how committed the administration is to a border adjustment tax for the budget.

“I’m not going to get into tax reform today. The president has said we will have an outline soon,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer responded during the White House press briefing.

Spicer continued:

What I will say is he has talked about the concerns he has with current regulatory and tax policy that benefit people for moving out of the country and shipping product back in while shedding American workers. He will continue to fight for policies that promote manufacturing and job creation in the United States and supports American workers. I don’t want to get ahead of policy. There has been a lot of input, as I mentioned.

The Trump budget seems to have broken the wall between defense discretionary and nondefense discretionary spending, said Romina Boccia, deputy director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.

“Previously, defense increases were used as an excuse for domestic increases,” Boccia told The Daily Signal. “This is more responsible than what we’ve seen from the Obama administration.”

Boccia said Congress and the administration must demonstrate a willingness to cut programs in order to build credibility for entitlement reform.

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