President Donald Trump’s push to increase defense spending is starting with a $30 billion amendment to this year’s budget that may boost funding for war supplies, readiness and depots, but also possibly for Boeing Co.’s Super Hornet jet, according to officials.
The $30 billion amendment that the Pentagon may submit to the White House Office of Management and Budget this week will set the stage for the $54 billion increase that administration officials announced on Monday for the budget year that begins in October. That boost would be offset by cuts from the rest of the government’s discretionary budget.
Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work is assessing what immediate personnel, readiness and maintenance priorities to fund in addition to procurement programs — perhaps including the fighter that Boeing makes in its St. Louis County plant, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified discussing budget deliberations. Trump has said the Pentagon is “looking seriously at a big order” of the Boeing jet, which he has also touted as a potential alternative to Lockheed Martin Corp.’s more advanced and costlier F-35 fighter.
While the funding for this year would be categorized as war spending to sidestep budget caps, that only postpones a fight over Trump’s plans to add $54 billion next year by cutting funds for domestic programs such as the Environmental Protection Agency and slashing foreign aid.
The outcome of that fight will determine whether Trump will be able to deliver on his longer-term campaign promises to bolster the military, in part by adding more Navy ships and Army troops.
Read more: Bloomberg