Report: Trump to Request Military Spending Boost in 2019

US soldiers salute as their national anthem is played during the opening ceremony of the annual joint 11-day Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) military exercise in Manila on April 4, 2016. US and Philippine troops began major exercises on April 4 as China's state media warned 'outsiders' against interfering in tense South China …

President Donald Trump is poised next month to request a boost in military spending for 2019, according to a recent report by the Washington Post.

The budget request will reportedly ask for $716 billion for 2019, a 13 percent increase from 2017 defense spending, and a seven percent increase from the proposed 2018 budget, which has not yet passed.

However, after adjusting for inflation, it would only mark a five percent increase from 2018, according to Bloomberg News. It would be a two percent increase from the $700 billion that Congress authorized for 2018.

It would provide the Pentagon’s base budget with $597 billion, its war-funding budget with $90 billion, and other defense programs in other agencies with $29 billion.

The defense budget would pay for Pentagon activities in 2019 and implement a National Defense Strategy released this month aimed at keeping an advantage over China and Russia, whose militaries are catching up technologically.

It would also go towards restoring the military after nearly two decades of continuous war, modernizing the nation’s nuclear arsenal, and paying for the ongoing wars against the Islamic State and in Afghanistan.

The budget “tracks” bipartisan negotiations taking place in Congress on a two-year budget deal, according to Bloomberg News. Republicans and Democrats are seeking agreement on a $70 billion increase to defense spending caps in 2018 and 2019, along with an increase in domestic spending, according to the report.

Democrats — who can filibuster in the Senate — have demanded increases in domestic spending along with any increase in defense spending for the past five years. Barring a deal to lift the budget caps, defense spending would be cut to $563 billion for 2019.

The proposed $716 billion budget, if passed, would mark a win for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who reportedly pushed for the increase in defense spending, and President Trump, who made rebuilding the military a key campaign issue.

However, the increase would be a loss for fiscal hawks who are seeking to balance the nation’s budget in ten years, which is a goal of White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.

Mark Cancian, a defense analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) told the Post that the proposed increase is “a huge deal.”

“It’s a big jump in defense and means that the Trump administration is putting resources against an extremely aggressive defense strategy,” he said. “What Mattis is saying is that you can’t have the best military in the world on an Obama budget.”


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