Trump Proposes More Money for Nukes, Border Security

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr

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Dubbed a “hard-power” budget by administration officials, the 2018 spending plan includes money for a controversial border wall.

President Donald Trump will unveil a budget plan Thursday that includes money for his controversial wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and an uptick in funding for nuclear weapons.

The spending plan, as outlined last month, would increase defense spending by $54 billion and cut other government agencies by the same amount.

“This is a hard-power budget. That was done intentionally,” Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Wednesday. “The president very clearly wants to send a message to our allies and our potential adversaries that this is a strong-power administration.”

The Trump administration will roll out two budget plans on Thursday: one that amends the Obama administration’s 2017 spending plan, and another for fiscal 2018, which begins on Oct. 1. The updated 2017 plan includes a $30 billion supplemental fund for “defense and primarily border” security, Mulvaney said. More detailed budget information, including program specifics and five-year projections, is expected in May.

Under Trump’s proposal, money would shift from foreign aid projects into military and security programs. As well, Mulvaney revealed that the $54 billion increase would go not just toward Pentagon programs, but also defense-related spending in other departments.

For example, the Energy Department would see an uptick in spending “for the nuclear triad,” Mulvaney said. The department oversees the development and maintenance of nuclear warheads.

Expect a $573 billion base budget request from the Pentagon, according to Jim McAleese, of the McAleese and Associates consulting firm, who wrote a note to clients this week. Add to that the roughly $30 billion in defense-related spending at Energy and that totals the $603 billion that Mulvaney last month said would be requested for defense.

Mulvaney said the Department of Homeland Security’s budget would see a 6 percent increase under the Trump plan, which includes $4.1 billion for the southern border wall: $1.5 billion in the 2017 supplemental and $2.6 billion in 2018.

The “funding provides for a couple of different pilot cases…different kinds of barriers in different kinds of places as we try to find the most cost-efficient, the safest and also the most effective border protections,” Mulvaney said. “They may be different in different areas.”

Homeland Security requested $66.8 billion in 2017. Congress has yet to pass a full-year 2017 appropriations bill, limiting government spending to 2016 levels.

While Mulvaney did not give details about cuts that are reportedly being eyed to the Coast Guard, he said a “leak about a proposed discontinuation of a cutter is not accurate.”

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