Think Tanks: Trump Will Have a Hard Time Raising Military Spending

President Donald Trump will have a difficult time fulfilling his promise to increase military spending, experts said on Monday at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington, D.C. “It’s not Christmas in July for defense spending,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. The main problem will continue to be the Budget Control Act spending caps, which will require 60 votes to enact any new spending for the Pentagon, said Richard Kogan, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Any Democrats who could be convinced to cross the aisle and support such an effort, Kogan said, would be likely to “exact a price,” and call for parallel domestic spending increases, which Republicans would not be willing to pay. Even if such a deal could be reached, however, Trump’s pick for OMB director, Mick Mulvaney, is “deeply opposed to defense spending increases” that add to the debt, Eaglen said. Time is another problem. Eaglen said Republicans on Capitol Hill are prioritizing repeal of the Affordable Care Act, reform of the tax code, and the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice—leaving little “political capital,” she said, for the fight over the military budget. In the end, Eaglen said of the proposed increases, “the plan to pay for that is complete fantasy and dead on arrival.”