Jan 26, 2018

Trump administration to ask for big defense spending increase

Donald Trump, Jim Mattis, and Mike Pence. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

The Trump administration is expected to ask for a major increase of $716 billion in defense spending next month in its proposal for the 2019 budget, officials tell The Washington Post. That’s an increase by more than 7% over the 2018 budget, which still hasn’t made its way through Congress to passage.

Why it matters: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last week that spending caps and continuing resolutions get in the way of the military’s ability to shift spending around to appropriately match defense priorities. But the DoD just released its national defense strategy, which shifts the country’s priorities to countering China and Russia instead of terrorism.

Between the lines: OMB Director Mick Mulvaney reportedly expressed concern that this proposal may scare off deficit hawks, especially following the increase in the deficit the tax code overhaul of last year is expected to cause. Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at CSIS, told the Post “If this is the number, then the battle between Mattis and Mulvaney is over and Mattis won.”

Meghan Burris, OMB Press Secretary, said "there is absolutely no daylight between Dir. Mulvaney and Sec. Mattis."

Chris Sherwood, DoD Spokesman, said: "We have nothing to provide prior to the DOD FY19 budget roll out."

Go deeper: The DoD’s new prioritiesHow stop-and-start funding impacts the Pentagon

This has been updated with OMB comment.

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George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Fla. seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.

4 takeaways from the Nevada Democratic debate

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The relative civility of the last eight Democratic debates was thrown by the wayside Wednesday night, the first debate to feature the billionaire "boogeyman," Michael Bloomberg, whose massive advertising buys and polling surge have drawn the ire of the entire field.

The big picture: Pete Buttigieg captured the state of the race early on, noting that after Super Tuesday, the "two most polarizing figures on this stage" — Bloomberg and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders — could be the only ones left competing for the nomination. The rest of candidates fought to stop that momentum.

Klobuchar squares off with Buttigieg on immigration

Buttigieg and Klobuchar in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar on the debate stage Wednesday for voting to confirm Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and voting in 2007 to make English the national language.

What she's saying: "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete, but let me tell you what it's like to be in the arena. ... I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents, and in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that."