Welcome to Sneak Peek, our weekly lookahead from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, plus our best scoops.
Tonight's newsletter is 1,857 words, a 7-minute read.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
President Trump will request a major increase to the budget for America's nuclear weapons arsenal, according to people familiar with the budget request the administration will unveil on Monday.
By the numbers: Trump's 2021 budget calls for $28.9 billion for the Pentagon to modernize nuclear delivery systems and $19.8 billion to the National Nuclear Security Administration — a nearly 20% increase over his previous budget request — for "modernizing the nuclear weapons stockpile," according to people familiar with the budget request.
Why it matters: Political leaders in America have kept delaying modernizing the three legs of the nuclear triad — land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear submarines and strategic aircraft. These systems have now aged to the "end of their service lives," said Mackenzie Eaglen, defense budget expert at the American Enterprise Institute.
Between the lines: There's a lot of bipartisan agreement in defense policy. But Republicans and Democrats tend to diverge when it comes to nuclear forces and arms control agreements.
Behind the scenes: President Trump is firmly in the latter camp and has often told his aides that the U.S. needs to have the best nuclear weapons program in the world. He has even privately mused about his desire for the U.S. to grow its arsenal, though that does not appear to be the point of this budget request.
The big picture: China has turned the old nuclear calculation upside down. The Cold War-era arms control debate was framed around the U.S. versus the Soviet Union. That bilateral conception of arms control continues to the present day, with the New START Treaty struck between the U.S. and Russia under the Obama administration.
The bottom line: America's nuclear infrastructure is aging, but the project of modernizing the warheads and the missiles is enormously expensive and will take many years. Congress has not shown a capacity to support the spending required so far.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
President Trump's 2021 budget proposes $4.6 trillion in deficit reduction, but it would take 15 years to balance, according to a source familiar with the budget.
Between the lines: On the 2016 campaign trail, Trump promised to eliminate the national debt in eight years. Not only has he failed to do that, but he's grown the debt by a trillion dollars each year he's been president. Even using optimistic scenarios, Trump's 2021 budget projects annual deficits to continue well beyond a second Trump term in office.
By the numbers: The Trump 2021 budget will propose a massive spending cut on nondefense activities — slashing almost $40 billion from the current levels to a proposed $590 billion, per sources familiar with the budget, and first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Trump will request $2 billion for his wall along the southern border, per a source familiar. That's less than half the $5 billion Trump requested for the wall in last year's budget.
Reality check: Budgets are best understood as outlines of the president's priorities — and opening bids for negotiations — rather than blueprints of what Congress will ultimately agree upon.
Bloomberg speaks at a campaign event in Compton, California, Feb. 3. Photo: Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images
Others have tried this tactic without success — remember Hillary Clinton? — but Mike Bloomberg plans to attack President Trump on his business record.
Between the lines: The crux of Bloomberg's argument is that Trump has only ever had to think about crushing his next adversary in a deal rather than building a long-term customer relationship — and that this short-term, win-at-all-costs mindset defines how Trump operates as president, and with allies.
Bloomberg's full comments:
"A promoter does one transaction and is never going to see that customer ever again. In his case, he sells a building to you and chances are he'll never have you as a customer again. So he can be much more aggressive in terms of trying to get the best deal for himself.
A businessperson, you always want to leave something on the table for the other side of the transaction because you're going to come back and try to have another transaction. And in fact, in this day and age, you can be a customer of another firm, they can be a customer of yours, you can be partners with them, you can have a lot of different relationships.
So the business world is much more complex, and you don't behave that way. And I think that explains a lot of ... his demeanor here versus other presidents or what I would do. ... That's the way I've always thought about it. Because you look at him and you say, 'Why does he do this?' That's what my conclusion is."
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Image
"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a stark message for the governors gathered in Washington this weekend: The Chinese government is watching them, and other state government officials, more closely than they think," Politico's Anna Gronewold reports.
Driving the news: "Pompeo told some 44 governors at the National Governors Association winter meeting that they are being individually analyzed by at least one Chinese government-backed think-tank on how malleable they are, and how prone to cooperate with China. And he warned governors to be cautious on everything from business deals to pension funds to the D.C. Metro system."
Photo: WIN-Initiative/Getty Images
The New Hampshire primaries are on Tuesday.
The House will vote on H.J.Res. 79, which would remove the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
The Senate is back to confirming judges now that the Senate impeachment trial has concluded. The Senate will vote on the following nominees, per a Republican leadership aide:
President Trump's schedule, per a White House official:
Bonus: On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper will depart for Brussels and Munich. He returns Feb. 15.
Obama shakes hands with Bloomberg on the sideline of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
After Bloomberg announced his presidential bid, he spoke over the phone with the last Democrat to win the presidency.
Behind the scenes: President Obama "congratulated me and we chit-chatted," Bloomberg told me. "He just basically said, you know, 'Good luck, and when they try to go after you don't fall for the bait, and don't feel bad if not everything goes right.'"
Between the lines: Bloomberg said he did not ask Obama for an endorsement. "You know, he's got his vice president's running. And he hasn't endorsed him yet. ... Maybe he's just staying out of the whole thing, I don't know."