Monday, November 14, 2016

Trump’s Big-League Defense Buildup Would Face Hurdles in Congress

Trump’s Big-League Defense Buildup Would Face Hurdles in Congress: If US president-elect Donald Trump pursues multi-billion-dollar plans to “rebuild” the military with new fighter jets, ships and troops, analysts are optimistic the Republican-led Congress will lift spending caps to fund it.

But to do so, he would have to surmount GOP fiscal hawks with an aversion to deficit spending and Democrats who want parity for defense and non-defense spending.

Far from a doctrinaire conservative, Trump cast himself as a pragmatist and transformational figure. He ran on populist promises to cut taxes, rebuild infrastructure and to expand the military, all while refusing to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits. Simple math suggests this yields higher budget deficits—a debt increase of between $4.4 and $5.9 trillion, according to the Tax Foundation.

The campaign’s proposed action plan for the first 100 days includes a Restoring National Security Act, aimed at “eliminating the defense sequester” — assumed to mean repeal of the Budget Control Act and its multi-year caps — “and expanding military investment.” It would also expand health care options for veterans, protect infrastructure from cyberattacks and impose politically charged screening on immigrants.