Trump Seeking ‘Historic Increase’ In Defense Spending, Planning Other Major Cuts [Opinion]

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with state governors on Monday morning and spoke on plans he has to seek a historic increase in defense spending, but he also mentioned several interesting things regarding other cuts, including healthcare and infrastructure. As most know, when you increase spending for one area of the government, it means cuts need to be made in another. In the case of the United States, which is trillions of dollars in debt, extra money isn’t available to simply fund whatever.

Cuts need to be made to allow the president to do as he chooses. Donald Trump is seeking to boost the U.S. defense by $54 billion in his first budget proposal as president, according to Reuters. This is quite an increase, but he is planning a large reduction in foreign aid, according to a White House budget official.

Trump stated, “This budget will be a public safety and national security budget. It will include an historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military of the United States of America at a time we most need it.”

It is well known that the United States military is already the world’s most powerful fighting force. The U.S. already spends $600 billion on defense annually, which is more than any other country in the world. This has caused many to question the move made by President Trump, however. If the president can shift other areas to make up for the money being used for defense, then the budget could work going forward.

President Donald Trump speaks at Governor's meeting.

However, the budget would call for cuts to governmental departments across the board. There are some departments that may be significantly cut as a result of it, which would most certainly include the Environmental Protection Agency, and EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt already mentioned there would be “aggressive cuts.” Plans for the EPA to be taken down a level have been in play for some time.

That said, it makes sense that Trump’s budget would call for them to be cut to make room for more money in other departments he deems worthy of needing extra funding. The White House will be sending Trump’s proposal out today to federal departments as he prepared to face off with Congress over budget negotiations. It can often take a number of months to get things settled in budget negotiations, so we should not expect a major change right away.

The good part for President Trump is that due to the fact that Congress is controlled by the Republicans, it is likely that they will approve most if not all of the budget plans he has. They do have final say on federal spending at this point, so we can expect them to exploit this to make sure they get the budget they want to help the departments they feel deserve more money and take away from those they believe do not need it.

Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis speaks in the Hall of Heroes at the Department of Defense

A Trump official spoke on the president’s request for the Pentagon needing more money. The president wants to spend money on shipbuilding and military aircraft according to the official. The same official also claimed Trump wanted to make “a more robust presence in key international waterways and chokepoints.” This would be in places like the Strait of Hormuz and the South China Sea.

Another Trump official claimed that the State Department’s budget could be cut by as much a 30 percent. This would affect the department a great deal and would force restructuring and the elimination of programs. As mentioned previously, the defense department already uses up $600 billion annually, but the State Department and foreign assistance use up about $50 billion dollars annually.

This means a little over the amount President Trump wants to spend on increasing the defense budget would be what the State Department uses. It’ll be interesting to see how well this type of budget plan goes over with Congress. It would not be surprising if Trump has put in a bigger number in hopes to negotiate a smaller number he may have wanted to begin with.

[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Pool/CNP/MediaPunch/IPX/AP Images]