Trump Budget Plan Boosts Pentagon, Cuts State Department, EPA: Officials

© Reuters. US President Donald Trump toasts at the governor’s dinner in the state dining room of the White House in Washington.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House will send federal departments on Monday a budget proposal containing the increase in defense spending promised by President Donald Trump, funded in part by cuts to the US State Department. The Environmental Protection Agency and other non-defense programs, two officials said. with the proposal he said.

One of the officials said Trump’s request to the Pentagon included more money for shipbuilding, military aircraft and the establishment of “a stronger presence in key international waterways and choke points” such as the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea. of South China.

A second official said the State Department budget could be cut by as much as 30 percent, forcing a major restructuring of the department and the elimination of programs.

The officials requested anonymity because the draft budget had not yet been made public.

Trump, in a speech to conservative activists on Friday, promised “one of the largest military concentrations in the history of the United States.”

Some defense experts have questioned the need for a large increase in US military spending, which already stands at approximately $ 600 billion annually. By contrast, the United States spends about $ 50 billion annually on the State Department and on foreign aid.

The amounts Trump proposes to add to the Pentagon budget and cut elsewhere are not yet publicly known.

John Czwartacki, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the budget plan would be released in mid-March.

“It would be premature for us to comment, or have anyone report, on the details of this internal discussion before publication,” he said in a statement.

The budget plans the White House is expected to send to departments and agencies on Monday are just one stage in a long process.

Agencies can request more funds and final spending plans must be approved by the United States Congress.

Trump’s budget assumes annual economic growth of 2.4 percent, the second official said. While campaigning for the presidency last year, Trump called for a “national goal” for economic growth of 4 percent.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking on Fox News early Sunday, said Trump’s budget would not seek cuts in federal social programs like Social Security and Medicare.

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