After reports revealed earlier on Sunday that Donald Trump’s new federal budget plan would call for $2 trillion in cuts to social safety net programs such as Medicare and food stamps over the next decade, further details leaked from the budget cast new light on the administration’s priorities for the country.
The big winner in the 2021 Trump budget now appears to be the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, according to a report by Axios on Sunday afternoon.
The new budget calls for a nearly 20 percent increase in spending on nuclear weapons, according to the Axios report. That figure includes approximately $29 billion to “modernize” nuclear delivery systems, and another $20 billion, roughly, for the Nuclear Security Administration, the agency within the Department of Energy that is charged with maintaining the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile.
At the same time the Trump administration plans to spend almost $50 billion on the nation’s nuclear arsenal, the Pentagon announced $5.7 billion in cuts to other Defense Department programs, according to a report by the military news site Defense One — including the Defense Health Program, which provides medical and dental services to active duty service members worldwide.
Other programs facing budget cuts, according to the Defense One report, include the Department of Defense Education Activity program, which operates 163 schools for approximately 1 million K-12 age military children in 11 countries, and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, which is responsible for locating and recovering American prisoners and missing personnel from all previous wars.
The Office of Economic Adjustment, which assists communities affected by Defense Department base closures and budget cuts also now faces budget cuts of its own, along with dozens of other Pentagon departments and military benefits programs.
The nuclear weapons program will receive an influx of cash under Trump’s new budget, if it is passed intact by Congress. The new billions will go toward “warhead life extension programs, [and] investments in new scientific tools” to maintain the nuclear arsenal into the future, according to a source quoted by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan.
According to the Axios report, Trump has made a personal priority out of ensuring that the U.S. possesses the best nuclear weapons program in the world.
Trump has also expressed his desire to grow the U.S. nuclear arsenal, building new warheads and weapons — but the new budget does not appear to cover an expansion of the nuclear stockpile, according to Swan’s report.
Earlier on Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the fiscal 2021 Trump budget includes an overall increase in defense allocations of 0.3 percent, to $740.5 billion. But the budget plan also drastically slashes programs that provide vital lifelines for senior and low income Americans, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps.