The President’s Budget Blueprint

The White House has released its blueprint for the 2018 federal budget. The Senate Republican Policy Committee provides its analysis of the plan here.


Today the Trump administration released a budget blueprint for fiscal year 2018 and a supplemental request for fiscal year 2017. Due to the presidential transition year, this first installment of the president’s budget is concerned only with discretionary spending and does not include revenue projections, tax reform proposals, or entitlement reform. Those portions of the administration’s budget will be released in May.

The blueprint proposes a $54 billion increase to the fiscal year 2018 spending cap for defense (function 050). This is offset by a cut of $54 billion to nondefense spending in 2018 to ensure that the increased Pentagon spending does not add to the deficit. These cuts are proposed with the goal of shrinking the size of government while ensuring national security. To that end, agencies that receive increases from 2017 base levels are: Department of Defense; Department of Homeland Security; Department of Veterans Affairs; and the National Nuclear Security Administration.


In addition, the budget requests: $24.9 billion in increased base funding at the Department of Defense for the current fiscal year; $5.1 billion in “overseas contingency operations” funding for the Defense Department “to accelerate the campaign to defeat ISIS” and for activities in Afghanistan; and $3 billion for implementation of the “executive orders on border security and immigration enforcement.” The $5.1 billion OCO request is in addition to former-President Obama’s $5.8 billion OCO supplemental request for fiscal year 2017 made after the election. The budget recommends that Congress cut other nondefense spending in fiscal year 2017 by $18 billion in order to partially offset these increases.


Enactment of the president’s proposed discretionary levels for both fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018 would require a change in law, since breaching the defense spending cap would still trigger a sequester of defense spending, even if it is offset with nondefense spending reductions. The caps in defense and nondefense discretionary budget authority are separate.

The budget blueprint released today proposes increasing the defense caps in 2017 and 2018 and decreasing the nondefense caps in both years. In 2018, the blueprint proposes a decrease in nondefense spending of $54 billion. In 2017, the proposal is to decrease the nondefense caps by $15 billion. This reflects a $3 billion increase for border security and immigration enforcement, with an $18 billion decrease in other nondefense funding.

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