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White House asks Congress for $33 billion more this year for military and border security

President Trump speaks to governors Feb. 27 at the White House. (Pool / Getty Images)
President Trump speaks to governors Feb. 27 at the White House. (Pool / Getty Images)

The White House is seeking $33 billion in extra funding over the next six months for the Pentagon, for the military prison at Guantanamo Bay and to construct a barrier along parts of the border with Mexico.

In a supplemental budget request, the Trump administration asked Congress on Thursday to boost spending for the Pentagon and to cut nondefense-related domestic programs for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

The supplemental request was issued the same day the White House rolled out its fiscal 2018 budget proposal, a blueprint that already is under sharp attack in Congress.

The proposed budget would expand military spending by $52 billion and commit more than $4 billion for construction of a border wall with Mexico. It would sharply cut the State Department, health, environment and education budgets.

The supplemental request for this fiscal year asks Congress to also cut $18 billion from the nondefense discretionary budget to partially offset the proposed increases in defense and homeland security funding.

The largest element of the supplemental request would add $24.9 billion to the Pentagon's base budget. That would require Congress to lift spending caps established in 2011 as part of a budget deal.

“The appropriations request seeks to address critical budget shortfalls in personnel, training, maintenance, equipment, munitions, modernization, and infrastructure investment,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a letter to Congress. “The request is a first step in investing in a larger, more ready, and more capable force.”

The White House also asked for $5.1 billion for an overseas contingency fund that pays for U.S. combat operations overseas.

It includes more than $4 billion for the war against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and for a Pentagon fund to “maximize the impact of U.S. counterterrorism activities and operations.”

The remaining $1.1 billion would fund the war in Afghanistan and other “counterterrorism activities.”

Among the activities listed is “planning and design of construction projects” at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where 41 detainees are held.

The White House request also seeks $3 billion “to address urgent border protection activities,” including the first phase of the wall President Trump has vowed to build along the Mexican border.

It's not clear how the administration will offset the increased spending.

Trump promised during his campaign to protect Social Security and Medicare, and aides said the current spending proposal would not affect those programs.

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