(Reuters) President Donald Trump is seeking what he called a “historic” increase in defense spending, but ran into immediate opposition from Republicans in Congress who must approve his plan and said it was not enough to meet the military’s needs.
The proposed rise in the Pentagon budget to $603 billion comes as the United States has wound down major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and remains the world’s strongest military power.
The plan came under fire from Democratic lawmakers, who said cuts being proposed to pay for the additional military spending would cripple important domestic programs such as environmental protection and education.
A White House budget official, who outlined the plan on a conference call with reporters, said the administration would propose “increasing defense by $54 billion or 10 percent.” That represents the magnitude of the increase over budget caps Congress put in place in 2011.
But Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, said the plan would bring the Pentagon’s budget to $603 billion in total, just 3 percent more than the $584 billion the agency spent in the most recent fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, 2016.
The rise would be slightly higher than the country’s current 2.5 percent rate of inflation.