OMB Director: Trump Budget Will Increase Spending on Defense, Reduce Spending on Wasteful Programs

Budget boosts Pentagon spending by $54 billion

Mick Mulvaney / Getty Images
March 16, 2017

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said that President Trump's budget will increase spending on defense while reducing the size of government by cutting wasteful spending.

"This is the 'America First' budget," Mulvaney said. "In fact, we wrote it using the president's own words—we went through his speeches, articles that have been written about his policies, we talked to him, and we wanted to know what his policies were, and we turned those policies into numbers."

The budget will increase defense spending by $54 billion dollars. Spending on border security and enforcement also will be increased. The Department of Defense is estimated to receive a 10 percent budget increase, while the Department of Homeland Security is expected to receive a 6 percent budget increase.

"We've worked very closely with the Defense Department to make sure, a couple of things, that this funds their needs but does so in a responsible fashion in terms of what they can actually spend this year," Mulvaney explained. "The Defense Department has told us this is the amount of money they need and can spend effectively this year. We are not throwing money after a problem and claiming that we have fixed it."

Mulvaney said the budget would allocate $1.5 billion this year and $2.6 billion in 2018 to build a southern border wall, and would fund tests to determine the cost efficiency, safety, and effectiveness of different types of barriers. Mulvaney noted that the full budget released in May would include cost projections over a 10-year window.

The spending increases on the administration's policy priorities will be matched dollar for dollar with spending reductions on other programs.

"We plus up the defense top line number by $54 billion, [but] you will in other parts of the budget find a corresponding $54 billion worth of reductions," Mulvaney said. "Since the president wanted to do that without adding to the already projected $488 billion deficit in fiscal year 2018, there were reductions elsewhere to offset dollar for dollar all of those increases."

The budget will reduce spending on the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department.

"You will see reductions exactly where you would expect it from a president who just ran on an 'America First' campaign," Mulvaney said. "You’ll see reductions in many agencies as he tries to shrink the role of government, drive efficiencies, go after waste, duplicative programs, those types of things."

Mulvaney estimated that the State Department would see a 28 percent reduction in funding, stressing that the money would come from the agency's foreign aid programs.

"The president ran saying he would spend less money overseas and more money back home," Mulvaney said. "So when you go to implement that policy you go to things like foreign aid, and those get reduced. If those had been in the Department of Education you'd see a dramatic decrease in education."

Mulvaney said the official budget blueprint will be released at 7 a.m. on Thursday, March 16.