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Trump proposes $54 billion hike in military spending

Brendan Smialowski, AFP | The proposed defence budget marks an almost 10% increase on spending in 2016.

US President Donald Trump's first budget proposal includes a substantial $54 billion dollar increase in defence spending, with corresponding cuts in foreign assistance and other non-military spending.

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Highlighting what Trump has described as a "public safety and national security budget", the plan raises national defence spending by almost 10 percent, an official said Monday on condition of anonymity.

The proposal, which will be picked over by Congress, will have "a corresponding reduction in non-defence spending by 54 billion [dollars]", the official said.

"Most federal agencies will see a reduction as a result," he added, without elaborating.

'We need to start winning wars again'

Speaking at a meeting with governors earlier on Monday, Trump claimed that his budget "follows through on my promise on keeping Americans safe".

The Republican president, who is expected to release his final budget proposal in mid-March, said the spending hike would help rebuild the country's "depleted military" – which already receives more than a third of the world's total military expenditure.

"We must ensure that our courageous men and women have the tools they need to deter war, and when called upon to fight in our name," Trump said, adding: "We have to start winning wars again."

His comments come a day before he addresses a joint session of Congress, an important agenda setting event for new presidents.

The nearly four trillion dollar annual federal budget is a declaration of intent that puts the president's policy goals down in black and white.

It also separates affordable campaign promises from the fanciful and is the final arbitrator after turf wars between departments and powerful interest groups.

Trump has promised to cut waste and duplication in federal spending.

US president after US president has made similar promises on coming to office, before delving into a text that runs to thousands of pages and tossing the plan into the thicket of Congress.

Trump has oodles of campaign promises to pay for, but faces a national debt set to hit $20 trillion on his watch and a deficit at 3.1 percent of GDP and rising.

Trump's promises – from building a wall on the Mexican border to stepping-up the deportation of undocumented immigrants – carry an estimated price tag of $5.3 trillion, according to the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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