Donald Trump Wants to Spend $54 Billion More On Defense. He Can’t.


This is just a short post to highlight something I’ve already mentioned. Here it is:

Donald Trump says he wants to increase the defense budget by $54 billion. He can’t. That would bust through the sequester caps in the Budget Control Act of 2011, and can only be done if the BCA caps are increased. This, in turn, can’t be done via reconciliation. It has to be done normally, which means it will require at least eight Democrats to join all the Republicans in order to get 60 votes in the Senate. There’s zero chance of this happening if Republicans are also planning to slash every domestic program that Democrats care about.

That’s all. I keep reading stories about how Trump is going to find “offsetting” cuts of $54 billion, but that’s not how it works. The sequester caps apply separately to domestic and defense spending. Republicans can offset all they want, but they still can’t bulldoze the defense cap unless they get a bunch of Democratic votes to help them.