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

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest