Trump's budget wish list: more defense spending, fewer entitlements


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The U.S. Government Publishing Office and Office of Budget and Management released President Donald Trump’s Budget for the U.S. Government, FY 2019 on Monday (U.S. GPO).

Budgets issued by White House administrations are typically not implemented as is. Instead, budget documents are issued as a list of White House priorities, and become a starting point for congressional negotiations.

The $4.4 trillion dollar budget would increase the national deficit to more than $1 trillion with a series of spending increases. Trump’s budget outlines major increases in military spending and border security, key Trump campaign issues. The budget proposes decreases to social services, including Medicare, representing a break from Trump’s campaign pledge not to cut benefits for the healthcare program (TIME).

The president’s budget will almost certainly be altered if it is to be enacted.

The proposal appears to have both Republican and Democratic detractors. White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina with a reputation as fiscal conservative, admitted he would not vote for the Trump plan were he still in Congress (The Hill). Mulvaney said the budget was largely designed to convey dedication to increased military funding.

Trump budget requests

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National Defense and Military

  • $716 billion for national defense. This boost in defense spending is counteracted with $65 billion in cuts for non-Defense-related spending. The budget document says the “Department of Defense will also pursue an aggressive reform agenda to achieve savings that it will reinvest in higher priority needs.”
    • $686 billion for the Pentagon (a 13 percent increase from 2017), $89 billion of which is earmarked for “Overseas Contingency Operations.”
    • The remaining $30 billion would go to the Department of Energy, a 3 percent increase from 2017, in part to “aggressively modernize the nuclear security enterprise.”
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Border Security and Immigration

  • $18 billion for border wall with Mexico
  • $1.6 billion for customs agents until the wall is constructed
  • $211 million for border patrol agents
  • $571 million for additional 2,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents
  • $2.5 billion to detain up to 47,000 undocumented immigrants
  • $80 million to appoint 75 immigration judges and 75 prosecutors

Healthcare Services

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