Despite all the hoopla in the media about President Trump proposing big increases in defense spending at the expense of domestic programs, the White House plan announced Monday would only raise Pentagon outlays 3% higher in 2018 than the amount President Obama sought. It looks like a big boost for the military because the budget office chose to compare what President Trump wants to spend with what current law actually permits. But if that is your baseline, then President Obama was proposing an historic increase too, because both chief executives ignored congressionally-mandated budget caps in their 2018 spending plans for the Pentagon. Problem is, the budget caps are still law through 2021, and the White House lacks a strategy for getting the 60-member “super majority” it needs in the Senate to legislate a repeal. So the military shouldn’t count on getting much more money in 2018 than Obama was planning, and it may not even get that much. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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