Trump to ask for major EPA, State cuts to boost military spending: reports

President Trump is expected to demand major cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of State to fund boosts to military spending in his first budget, according to multiple reports.

Trump on Monday will instruct Cabinet and agency officials to prepare budget requests, according to The New York Times and Axios. The administration is expected to release its first budget outline March 13, and Trump will ask for massive cuts to EPA climate change programs to help fund drastic increases in military spending.

Trump’s request comes one day before he’ll address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, laying out his policy agenda.

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Trump promised a significant military expansion, including $165 billion to bolster the Navy, during his campaign. His requests for additional military funding mean Congress will have to either waive or end Obama-era budget caps on defense spending, a long-sought goal for defense hawks.

Congressional conservatives have been wary to boost defense spending without additional cuts, and such increases were opposed by former Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-N.C.), now Trump’s Office of Management and Budget director. But Mulvaney promised during his confirmation hearings to support Trump’s request for military funding boosts.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that Trump’s first budget wouldn’t touch Social Security or Medicare. Even so, the Times reported that Trump would request cuts to other entitlement programs.

Trump’s policy on entitlement reform is unclear, and his administration hasn’t proposed a way to salvage Social Security and Medicare, the most expensive piece of the federal budget, or refuel trust funds expected to run dry in less than 20 years.

Instead, Trump’s plan to pay down the nearly $20 trillion national debt rests on bolstering economic growth through tax cuts and deregulation. Trump’s team is considering tax cuts without equivalent spending cuts but is insisting lower corporate taxes will fuel domestic manufacturing and investment

Trump’s budget will predict 2.4 percent growth in 2017, according to the Times. That’s more than the 1.6 percent Obama administration average but below the 4 percent to 6 percent growth Trump promised on the campaign trail.

Mnuchin said the administration would like to complete comprehensive tax reform by August, an ambitious goal given the jam-packed legislative calendar. The White House and Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling around March 16 and fund the government by the end April 28, all while trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.