Trump sends Congress first budget request to tune of $54b for defense

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WASHINGTON – President Trump’s administration sent Congress its first budget proposal requesting an additional $54 billion in military spending. This would be a nine percent increase to what the United States already spends on defense.

The proposal also asks for heavy cuts to non-defense programs, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and foreign aid.

“We’re going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people,” Trump said.

During the campaign last September, Trump addressed an audience in Philadelphia, Pa. and said he would help “rebuild” the military.

“I’m gonna build a military that’s gonna be much stronger than it is right now. It’s gonna be so strong, nobody’s gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less,” Trump said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in October of 2015.

Part of Trump’s campaign platform would be to boost military spending by $500 billion across the next ten years. He has claimed before that he would like to add 10,000 Marines, 60,000 soldiers, around 75 submarines and 100 new aircraft.

On top of that, President Trump also told “Reuters” that the United States would get back to the “top of the pack” in regards to nuclear weapon capacity.

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the United States government is already spending $598 billion on its defense as of the 2016 fiscal year. Fourteen countries, including China, Russia, Japan, France, Israel and the U.K., spend $664 billion on defense total. The rest of the world spends around $317 billion. Of a total $1.6 trillion spent on the military around the world, the United States spends nearly 40 percent of that total on its own.

China, which spends the second largest amount on its military following the United States, spends around $146 billion.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released a statement via Twitter that blasted Trump’s proposal as a broken promise that is meant to help “the wealthy and special interests while putting further burdens on” middle-class taxpayers.

“A cut this steep almost certainly means cuts to agencies that protect consumers from Wall Street excess and protect clean air and water,” Schumer wrote.

To off-set the imbalance created by the $54 billion addition to military spending, the budget proposes to cut the same amount from domestic institutions, such as the EPA – for which a bill regarding a gutting and eventual dissolution of the EPA has already been proposed in the House of Representatives – the National Endowment for the Arts, whose budget is currently $148 million according to USA Today, and foreign aid, which makes up less than 1 percent of federal budget, according to NPR.