By DONNA CASSATA and ROBERT BURNS
WASHINGTON (AP) — Call it the wishing and hoping defense budget.
President Barack Obama’s 2014 blueprint assumes that Washington reverses the automatic budget cuts that have become a daily reality for the military. It also counts on Congress embracing the domestic base closings, increased health care fees and weapons terminations that lawmakers resoundingly rejected in recent years.
The proposal unveiled Wednesday calls for a base Pentagon budget of $526.6 billion — $52 billion more than the $475 billion level established by the across-the-board spending cuts set in the budget agreement between Obama and congressional Republicans in August 2011.
The budget plan includes a $88.5 billion placeholder for additional war costs in Afghanistan as Obama decides on the pace of the drawdown of American combat troops next year.