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Trump meets with Mattis and Republican lawmakers amid fears of defense budget cut

A day after President Donald Trump appeared to call the current Defense Department budget "crazy," Secretary...

Posted: Dec 5, 2018 8:28 AM
Updated: Dec 5, 2018 8:28 AM

A day after President Donald Trump appeared to call the current Defense Department budget "crazy," Secretary of Defense James Mattis and key Republican lawmakers who oppose any defense budget cuts met with the President to discuss military funding.

"I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!" Trump tweeted Monday.

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Mattis attended the Tuesday White House meeting along with the chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, and the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, according to defense officials and congressional staffers.

The meeting comes as the Trump administration has floated a 5% cut to the Defense Department, reducing the defense budget from the $716 billion allocated in 2019 to $700 billion in 2020 as part of a federal governmentwide effort to reduce the deficit.

Defense officials were planning on a $733 billion budget for 2020 prior to the proposed cuts.

"The $733 (billion) figure was arrived by the Department carefully looking at the requirements of the National Defense Strategy. It reflects our best projection of a strategy informed budget," Lt. Gen. Frank McKenzie, Trump's nominee to lead US Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

"Anything below $733 (billion) would increase risk, and that risk would be manifested across the force. We're in the process now of very carefully across the department examining the details of what the nature of the risk would be, who it would be imposed upon and the nature of it," he added.

Last week, Inhofe and Thornberry wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal in which they argued against any cuts to the defense budget, saying a "last-minute directive to cut $33 billion from defense would be dangerous."

Mattis cited their editorial multiple times during his Saturday remarks at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, saying, "America can afford survival."

Asked about Trump's proposed budget cuts, Mattis said, "this is the normal give and take of building the President's budget, ladies and gentlemen. This is not a decision; this is where the President is trying to sort out competing priorities."

Inhofe called their meeting with Trump a "productive conversation."

"I had a frank and productive conversation about our national security goals with the President," Inhofe said in a statement provided to CNN.

"I am confident from the meeting that the President is determined to keep our nation strong and the military adequately funded. I look forward to continuing to work with President Trump and Vice President Pence to achieve these shared goals," Inhofe added.

An Armed Services Committee aide echoed Inhofe's comments, saying "the participants reviewed the damage done to the military during the Obama administration," and that "the participants believe we continue to make progress and are still on track to rebuild the military."

News of the meeting was first reported by The Washington Post.

Trump had made boosting defense spending a major aspect of his campaign and, upon signing the $716 billion 2019 defense budget, Trump called the measure "the most significant investment in our military in our war fighters in modern history," saying that he was "very proud to be a big, big part of it."

However, with the Democrats taking over the House of Representatives in 2019, it's possible that there will be less enthusiasm for defense budget increases within the new Congress.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308111

Reported Deaths: 7122
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20826248
Hinds19910411
Harrison17510302
Rankin13334276
Jackson13118243
Madison9908210
Lee9871170
Jones8297160
Forrest7525147
Lauderdale7198237
Lowndes6272144
Lamar611084
Lafayette6039117
Washington5281133
Bolivar4772129
Oktibbeha455897
Panola4445103
Pearl River4428141
Warren4284118
Marshall4276100
Pontotoc416972
Monroe4061132
Union403975
Neshoba3994176
Lincoln3871109
Hancock372885
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329589
Tate322782
Pike3188104
Scott310872
Yazoo304468
Alcorn298065
Itawamba297177
Copiah293265
Coahoma289778
Simpson288284
Tippah284868
Prentiss275759
Marion266079
Leake261373
Wayne261341
Grenada255384
Covington254780
Adams246082
Newton245161
George238147
Winston225981
Tishomingo222267
Jasper219748
Attala213473
Chickasaw205057
Holmes186872
Clay182854
Stone179331
Clarke177076
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163531
Yalobusha159236
Smith158834
Walthall130643
Greene129433
Lawrence126423
Noxubee126233
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120926
Amite120141
Webster113532
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102725
Claiborne101330
Benton97325
Kemper95428
Humphreys94332
Franklin82123
Quitman78916
Choctaw73417
Wilkinson64928
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 520503

Reported Deaths: 10722
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754091487
Mobile38938798
Madison33898495
Tuscaloosa25297443
Montgomery23992567
Shelby23124239
Baldwin20652300
Lee15541165
Calhoun14301311
Morgan14145270
Etowah13665346
Marshall11967219
Houston10381278
Elmore10001200
Limestone9822147
Cullman9481188
St. Clair9435234
Lauderdale9223227
DeKalb8748181
Talladega8071171
Walker7100275
Jackson6762110
Autauga6734103
Blount6497135
Colbert6210130
Coffee5404112
Dale4766110
Russell429038
Franklin419982
Chilton4087109
Covington4056114
Tallapoosa3898146
Escambia388574
Dallas3531149
Chambers3503122
Clarke346560
Marion3066100
Pike305876
Lawrence295395
Winston272572
Bibb256459
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens233059
Barbour225255
Hale218775
Butler212566
Fayette209260
Henry187744
Cherokee182144
Randolph176941
Monroe172040
Washington164238
Macon154848
Clay149555
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146241
Lamar139334
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109128
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene91034
Choctaw58724
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