Trump budget plan boosts Pentagon, trims
State Dept, EPA: officials
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[February 27, 2017]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White
House will send federal departments a budget proposal on Monday
containing the defense spending increase President Donald Trump
promised, financed partly by cuts to the U.S. State Department,
Environmental Protection Agency and other non-defense programs, two
officials familiar with the proposal said.
One of the officials said Trump's request for the Pentagon included more
money for shipbuilding, military aircraft and establishing "a more
robust presence in key international waterways and chokepoints" such as
the Strait of Hormuz and South China Sea.
A second official said the State Department's budget could be cut by as
much as 30 percent, which would force a major restructuring of the
department and elimination of programs.
The officials requested anonymity because the draft budget had not been
made public yet.
Trump, in a speech to conservative activists on Friday, promised "one of
the greatest military buildups in American history."
Some defense experts have questioned the need for a large increase in
U.S. military spending, which already stands at roughly $600 billion
annually. By contrast, the United States spends about $50 billion
annually on the State Department and foreign assistance.
The amounts that Trump is proposing to add to the Pentagon budget and
trim elsewhere are not yet publicly known.
John Czwartacki, a spokesman for the White House's Office of Management
and Budget, said the budget blueprint would be released in mid-March.
"It would be premature for us to comment - or anyone to report - on the
specifics of this internal discussion before its publication," he said
in a statement.
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President Donald Trump makes a toast during the Governor's Dinner in
the State Dinning Room at the White House in Washington, U.S.,
February 26, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
The budget plans that the White House is expected to send to
departments and agencies on Monday are just one stage in a lengthy
The agencies can argue for more funding, and final spending plans
must be approved by the U.S. 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" of 4 percent economic
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking on Fox News earlier on
Sunday, said Trump's budget would not seek cuts in federal social
programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
(Reporting by Washington Newsroom; Additional reporting by Roberta
Rampton.; Writing by Warren Strobel; Editing by Peter Cooney and
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