President Donald Trump plans to propose an increase in the country’s defense budget up to 10% or $54 billion. The amount that will be allocated for the Defense Department is going to be taken out from the discretionary budget of the government.
According to an administration official, federal agencies aside from those that are involved in the country’s security will see a decrease in their budget allocation in order to compensate for the higher defense spending. The official that briefed reporters regarding this matter only released this information on one condition, and that was anonymity. According to the same White House official, the general population won’t have anything to worry about because the cuts won’t affect the automatic entitlement programs of the government such as Medicare and Social Security. These programs make up two-thirds of the federal budget which is now at $4 trillion.
Trump calls his plan the ‘public safety budget’ as it focuses on keeping terrorists out and increasing law enforcement. The President also promised that they would be spending a huge amount of money on infrastructure, but he did not give any details.
The White House will be sending federal agencies their budget targets on Monday. The administration is planning to make a final outline as soon as they can and they are already preparing for the intense criticism of the proposal from Democrats, as well as from Republicans as government programs that have been favored will be slashed.
If the Congress adopts Trump’s plan, discretionary programs including medical research, education, veterans care, and national parks among others will be seeing a significant decrease in their budget. Some programs will be experiencing a bigger cut and some less.
One of the federal budget experts of the country, Stan Collender, said that the cuts wouldn’t eviscerate federal agencies but only if individual programs get deeper cuts. However, the impact will surely be significant. Charles Schumer, Senate Democratic leader from New York, exclaimed that Trump’s proposal will be like ‘a meat ax’ to all the programs that are intended for the middle class.
During Trump’s presidential campaign, his central tenet was to boost the country’s defense spending. He even labeled the US military, which is the world’s biggest as ‘badly depleted.’
“We are also allocating a huge budget request for the military,” Trump mentioned at the conference for Conservative Political Action last Feb. 24. “We will be upgrading our military substantially - defensive, offensive, everything... Better, stronger, and bigger than ever before. With this, we hope that we won’t need to use it in the future. Nobody’s ever going to mess with us… Nobody.”
Trump’s budget outline shows his commitment to fixing VA, as told by David Shulkin, Veterans Affairs Secretary. Shulkin went on by saying that Trump’s move is not about increasing the funding of the military blindly. Yet, it is to restructure an outdated system. He also expressed his gratitude and admiration for Trump as he focused on the security of the country and of the American people.