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Defense spending could drop 71 billion next year without Budget Deal

SPENDING DROP COMING: President Trump was in a triumphant mood on Monday when he signed the $717 billion National Defense Authorization Act in front of a crowd of cheering soldiers in Fort Drum, N.Y. "We are the most powerful. We are the best funded. We are the biggest, we are the strongest, [and] we are the smartest," the president said.

But a new assessment by the Congressional Budget Office is tossing a bucket of cold water on Trump’s budget victory. After two years of spending hikes, the much-maligned Budget Control Act caps are set to snap back into place next year and could force a $71 billion reduction in total defense spending. The cap for the Defense Department will fall from $647 billion in fiscal 2019 to $576 billion, the CBO said. The Pentagon’s fiscal 2019 budget set by the NDAA is $639 billion, though no final defense appropriations bill has been passed yet. Some defense spending happens outside the Pentagon and the caps do not cover overseas contingency operations, which will run about $69 billion.

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