Trump budget could be good news for Wright-Patt

A Trump administration proposal to reportedly add $54 billion to the defense budget would be good for Wright-Patterson if it eliminated spending caps under sequestration, according to Michael Gessel, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of federal programs.

The cuts in the fiscal year 2018 budget would come at the expense of spending reductions at other federal agencies that have not been detailed, reports say.

Donald Trump called for an end to sequestration on the campaign trail.

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“He talked about the need to eliminate budget spending caps on defense and that will have a significant boost for defense (and) that will likely benefit Wright-Patterson if that happens,” Gessel said. “Increasing the defense budget is good news for Wright-Patterson, but we will have to wait to see the details.”

Sequestration imposed spending caps under the Budget Control Act of 2011, which imposed automatic defense spending cuts.

Gessel pointed to four key Wright-Patterson missions that could benefit with more dollars: science and technology research, acquisition, military intelligence and graduate education.

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Money added to the fiscal year 2018 defense budget would have to be added after the repeal of sequestration, or as part of overseas warfare funding, said Loren B. Thompson, a senior defense analyst with the Virginia-based Lexington Institute and a defense industry consultant.

“This is all problematic in political terms,” Thompson said in an email. “The new director of the Office of Management and Budget has said he does not want to use the war supplemental for items unrelated to overseas contingencies, and it will be hard to attract eight Democrats in the Senate so the administration has the required “super-majority” of 60 senators necessary to repeal the Budget Control Act.

“In other words, the president and defense secretary will need to fight hard for their priorities on Capitol Hill — especially since Democrats oppose cutting funding for domestic agencies,” Thompson said.

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