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Copies of Trump's budget proposal from last year. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration will release a budget proposal on Monday that calls for $750 billion in defense spending next year — a figure that will be boosted by using a pot of defense money that has often been criticized as a slush fund, two senior administration officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The proposal would give President Trump the defense increase he wants, but remember that this is just the administration's opening ask to Congress — which is sure to go its own way, particularly with a Democratic House. But the administration will try to pressure the Democrats by not assuming there will be a budget deal with more money.

Between the lines: This will be the first budget under Trump that won't assume the spending caps under a 2011 budget law will be lifted later through a deal with Congress. That's why the administration tried to get to Trump's defense number using a budget tactic that assumes the spending limits will stay in place.

  • Trump administration officials argue this strategy will help them gain leverage over House Democrats because there won't be any reason for Republicans to break the spending caps to get what they want.
  • In the past, Democrats have offered more military spending in exchange for higher domestic spending as an incentive to break the spending limits.

Details: The budget outline will propose a total of $750 billion in defense spending, an increase over $716 billion last year.

The catch: The White House will have to decide whether to negotiate with Congress if it ignores the administration's military funding strategy — which it probably will.

The bottom line: White House budget proposals are always just starter suggestions to Congress, which will write its own budget and spending bills. But the Trump administration is sending strong signals about how it will deal with Democrats, and how far it's willing to break with past Republican policies to gain the leverage it wants.

Go deeper

Trump blasts “wacky” GOP Sen. Cassidy after “Axios on HBO” interview

Former President Trump on Monday blasted Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) after he told "Axios on HBO" that he is not sure Trump could win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Driving the news: When told that Trump could be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in saying: "I don't know that."

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Johnson & Johnson pulls the trigger on Texas talc gambit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's official: Johnson & Johnson has invoked a Texas legal loophole in an attempt to protect the bulk of its corporate assets from claims that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and boldest invocation yet of the so-called Texas two-step defense. But it's still not clear whether it's going to work.

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