HASH(0xbe7d24)

AP sources: White House to propose boosting defence spending

AP sources: White House to propose boosting defence spending

WASHINGTON — The White House will propose boosting defence spending and slashing funding for longtime Republican targets like the Environmental Protection Agency in a set of marching orders to agencies as it prepares its budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

President Donald Trump’s proposal for the 2018 budget year, which will be sent to agencies Monday, won’t make significant changes to Social Security or Medicare, according to an administration official.

The official, as well as Capitol Hill aides, confirmed details of the upcoming blueprint on the condition of anonymity to discuss nonpublic information and a sensitive process.

Trump’s first major fiscal marker will land in the agencies one day before his first address to a joint session of Congress. For Trump, the primetime speech is an opportunity to refocus his young presidency on the core economic issues that were a centerpiece of his White House run.

The Pentagon is due for a huge boost, as Trump promised during the campaign. But many nondefense agencies and foreign aid programs are facing cuts, including at the State Department. The specific numbers aren’t final and agencies will have a chance to argue against the cuts as part of a longstanding tradition at the budget office.

Trump is expected to release his final budget proposal in mid-March.

The president previewed a boost in military spending during a speech Friday to conservative activists, pledging “one of the greatest build-ups in American history.”

“We will be substantially upgrading all of our military, all of our military, offensive, defensive, everything, bigger and better and stronger than ever before,” he said.

In an interview with Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said cuts to Social Security and Medicare would not be part of the administration’s first budget. Trump’s priority is passing legislation to reduce middle-class and corporate taxes, he said.

As a candidate, Trump promised to leave major entitlements untouched, breaking with some Republican leaders who believe the costly programs need to be reformed.

The White House budget office issued a statement confirming that an interim budget submission will be released in mid-March but declining to comment on an “internal discussion.”

“The president and his Cabinet are working collaboratively to create a budget that keeps the president’s promises to secure the country and restore fiscal sanity to how we spend American taxpayers’ money,” said Office of Management and Budget spokesman John Czwartacki.

Czwartacki said that the March submission would only address agency operating budgets funded by Congress and that proposals on tax reform and so-called mandatory programs — they include food stamps, student loans, health programs and farm subsidies — will be released later.

The March release is also expected to include an immediate infusion of cash for the Pentagon that’s expected to register about $20 billion or so and contain the first wave of funding for Trump’s promised border wall and other initiatives like hiring immigration agents.

By increasing defence and leaving Medicare and Social Security untouched, the Trump final budget plan is sure to project sizable deficits. In the campaign Trump promised huge tax cuts but top GOP leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin don’t want this year’s tax reform drive to add to the budget deficit.

Andrew Taylor And Julie Pace, The Associated Press

Just Posted

UPDATE: Kelowna’s crying judge refuses to pull herself from case

Judge Monica McParland has refused to pull herself off the case.

Air quality remains at high risk for Okanagan

The whole Okanagan is forecast to be set at a high risk for the remainder of the day

Pedestrian hit in Kelowna

Crews on scene helping struck pedestrian

Info session offered for those mulling a run for civic office in Kelowna

City will provide info about running and expectations for mayoral and councillor candidates Aug. 23

Falcons swept in WCL final

Kelowna loses 5-1 in game two of the championship to the Corvallis Knights

Check out what’s happening this weekend

Follow Social Squad member Matthew Abrey to find out what’s happening in the Okanagan-Shuswap

RCMP nab prolific car thief after month-long, B.C.-wide search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

Court sides with developer in Jumbo ‘substantially started’ dispute

Resort developer successfully argues 2014 decision that halted the project was unfair

Snowy Mountain wildfire expected to create poor visibility

An update on the active wildfire burning 14 km north of Keremeos

Old Tom Creek wildfire grows to 144 hectares

Difficult terrain and weather challenging crews at Old Tom Creek wildfire

Canada’s tax system unfairly favours wealthy, poll of CRA auditors suggests

Four of every five respondents think loopholes and tax credits built into the system benefit the rich

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

The plan would allow for more visitors but wouldn’t let Sunshine build additional facilities

Conditions improve for battling northwest B.C. wildfires, minister says

‘Self-evacuated’ people fleeing smoke advised to go home

Missing Alberta man believed to be travelling to Penticton

RCMP are asking for assistance in locating a missing man

Most Read