Trump ‘seeks $54bn increase’ in military budget

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Donald Trump has reportedly proposed an increase in the 2018 US defence budget by $54bn, while imposing funding cuts to other domestic programmes and foreign aid.

Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity at the White House’s insistence, spoke about the bid to boost military spending by about 10 percent on Monday, the same day that Trump promised a “historic” increase in the defence budget.

“This budget follows through on my promise on keeping Americans safe … It will include a historic increase in budget spending,” Trump said as he met state governors at the White House.

The Pentagon’s budget increase would fulfil a Trump campaign promise to build up the military.

A senior budget office official said there will be a large reduction in foreign aid and that most domestic agencies will have to absorb cuts, without offering more details.

Tentative proposals for the 2018 budget year that begins on October 1 are being sent to agencies, which will have a chance to propose changes to the cuts as part of a longstanding tradition at the budget office.

Trump’s budget, once finalised and sent to Congress in mid-March, is expected to set off a major political debate in Washington DC.

Democrats and some Republicans are certain to resist the cuts to domestic agencies, and any legislation to implement them would have to overcome a filibuster threat by Senate Democrats.

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