In Summary

  • The Pentagon is expected to be the major winner with a nearly 10 percent boost.
  • The budget may also be seen as a signal to the world that Trump's United States may be less engaged and will put 'America first.'

WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump is set to propose drastic cuts to America's foreign aid and environmental programs in a security-heavy first budget blueprint to be released Thursday.

In a plan designed to translate bold campaign promises into dollar and cent commitments, the Republican leader is expected to propose steep cuts in State Department funding.

That could be a harbinger of reductions in foreign aid and funding to UN agencies, with knock-on effects around the world.

The Pentagon is expected to be the major winner with a nearly 10 percent boost - shovelling more cash toward a defence budget already greater than that of the next seven nations combined.

Trump's broad-brush proposal covers only a fraction of the $3.8 trillion federal budget — which is dominated by healthcare, pension and other baked-in costs.

The text will be heavily revised and fleshed out by Congress, before a full budget is released around May.

In that sense, the plan is as much a political statement as a fiscal outline: a fact not lost on the White House.

PLAYING TO THE BASE

The budget is a signal to Trump's supporters that he is a "man of action" and not a "typical politician."

Trump is looking to rally his base, amid multiple controversies over his Twitter outbursts, Russian meddling in the election that brought him to power and a simmering rift with Congressional Republicans over healthcare reform.

According to Gallup, Trump has approval ratings of 40 percent, a low for any modern president weeks into his tenure.

But security has been a major vote winner. An Economist/YouGov poll found that 51 percent of Republicans believe the United States will be safer from terrorism at the end of his term.

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