Washington: US President Donald Trump has agreed to a request from Defence Secretary James Mattis to propose a defence budget of $750 billion for the coming year, according to an administration official.
Last week, Trump appeared to call the Defence Department budget of $716 billion “crazy” in a tweet. The next day Mattis and key Republican lawmakers who oppose any defence budget cuts met the President lunch to discuss military funding, the official told CNN on Sunday.
The agreement on the $750 billion budget came out of the meeting on December 4, which was attended by Trump, Mattis and the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees.
“The President fully supports the National Defence Strategy and continuing to rebuild the military,” the administration official said.
“President Trump agreed to $750 billion topline.”
The meeting came as the Trump administration floated a 5 per cent cut to the Defence Department, reducing the defence budget from $716 billion allocated in 2019 to $700 billion in 2020 as part of a federal government-wide effort to reduce the deficit.
Defence officials were planning on a $733 billion budget for 2020 prior to the proposed cuts.
“The Department is committed to ensuring our military remains the most lethal force in the world. We are working with OMB (Office of Management and Budget) to determine the department’s topline number,” Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, a Defence Department spokesman, told CNN.
Defence officials had said anything under $733 billion would increase risk.