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John McCain: Trump’s proposed $54B boost doesn’t do enough to rebuild military

A F/A-18 fighter prepares to take off from the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during the annual joint military exercise called Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States at an unidentified location in the international waters, east of the Korean Peninsula, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

PHOENIX — President Donald Trump’s proposed $54 billion boost in spending will not be enough to rebuild the nation’s military, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said.

“Such a budget does not represent a 10 percent increase as previously described by the White House, but amounts to a mere 3 percent over President Obama’s defense plan, which has left our military underfunded, undersized and unready to meet the threats of today and tomorrow,” McCain said in a release.

Trump was scheduled to release his budget on Thursday, but some outlets, including the Associated Press, received an advanced copy.

The $54 billion boost for the military is the largest since President Ronald Reagan’s Pentagon buildup in the 1980s, promising immediate money for troop readiness, the fight against Islamic State militants and procurement of new ships, fighter jets and other weapons.

McCain said that figure isn’t large enough.

“House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry and I agree a defense budget of $640 billion in fiscal year 2018 and sustained increases for years to come are needed to rebuild our military, restore military readiness, and modernize our forces for the realities of 21st century warfare,” he said.

The longtime senator and head of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Trump’s budget will not get past the Senate.

“Moving forward, it is imperative that we work together to reach a bipartisan agreement that provides sufficient funds to rebuild the military,” he said.

Trump’s budget goes after the frequent targets of the party’s staunchest conservatives, eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts, legal aid for the poor, low-income heating assistance and the AmeriCorps national service program established by former President Bill Clinton.

Such programs were the focus of lengthy battles dating to the GOP takeover of Congress in 1995 and have survived prior attempts to eliminate them. Lawmakers will have the final say on Trump’s proposal in the arduous budget process.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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