“We are going to do more with less.”
President Donald Trump released his plan for the 2018 federal budget titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” The plan includes cuts to some departments and slashes programs in order to reallocate funds to a bigger defense budget.
“One of the most important ways the Federal Government sets priorities is through the Budget of the United States,” wrote Trump. “Accordingly, I submit to the Congress this Budget Blueprint to reprioritize Federal spending so that it advances the safety and security of the American people.”
My Budget Blueprint for 2018:
- provides for one of the largest increases in defense spending without increasing the debt;
- significantly increases the budget for immigration enforcement at the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security;
- includes additional resources for a wall on the southern border with Mexico, immigration judges, expanded detention capacity, U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Border Patrol;
- increases funding to address violent crime and reduces opiod abuse; and
- puts America first by keeping more of America’s hard-earned tax dollars here at home.
Trump said the military needs the proper tools “to deter war, and when called upon to fight, do only one thing: Win.”
The proposal promised no additions to our already overblown debt. To do this, he made cuts across the board “to do more with less, and make the Government lean and accountable to the people.”
Here’s an overview on some of the more significant parts of the budget.
Cuts to EPA, State Department
Trump wants to give the EPA $5.7 billion, a cut of $2.6 billion. This estimate is 31% lower than 2017 level. This includes:
- $2.3 billion for the State Revolving Funds
- $20 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program
- Discontinue funding for Clean Power plan, international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, and related efforts
- Eliminates more than 50 EPA programs, including Energy Star and Targeted Airshed Grants
The State Department will receive a $25.6 billion budget under this proposal, a cut of $10.1 billion. That’s 28% lower than it got in 2017. The plans for the State includes:
- $2.2 billion for new embassy construction and maintenance in accordance with the Benghazi Accountability Review Board
- $3.1 billion for security assistance to Israel
- Eliminate the Global Climate Change Initiative, eliminate funding related to the Green Climate Fund and its two precursor Climate Investment Funds.
- $1 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and keep current commitments to those on HIV/AIDS treatment under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief
- Reduce funds to the UN and affiliated agencies. The U.S. will not contribute more than 25% to UN peacekeeping efforts.
- Savings can go to funding for humanitarian assistance: food aid, disaster, and refugee programs
- Reduce funds to Department of State’s Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs, multilateral development banks like the World Bank.
Slight Decreases for Justice Department
The Justice Department faces a 3.8% deduction to only $27.7 billion for 2018:
- Budget $249 million for the FBI, which is a 3% increase from 2017
- Use $175 for the department to target the most violent criminal organizations and drug traffickers to address violent crime, gun deaths, and opioid abuse.
- $80 million increase to hire 75 more immigration judges.
- Hire 60 more border enforcement prosecutors and 40 deputy U.S. Marshals
- Eliminate $700 million spending on outdated programs
- Saves a billion in Federal prison construction since the population has gone down 14% since 2013.
Eliminate Independent Agencies
Trump’s budget proposal also proposes eliminating a few independent agencies, a few sacred cows to the left. These include the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities.
Quick question: Why don’t these millionaires and billionaires fund these programs then?
Other agencies include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund PBS and NPR. Politico immediately brought up Big Bird and Sesame Street, but HBO already picked up the show. Episodes still run on PBS.
Again, if it’s so sacred, then why can’t the elite Hollywood people pay for it?
Other Considerable Cuts
The proposal suggests a $59 billion budget for Education, a cut of $9 billion or 13% lower than 2017:
- Increases investments in public and private school choice by $1.4 billion for a total of $20 billion.
- Maintains $13 billion for IDEA programs for special needs students.
- Eliminates Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant programs
- Protects support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions
The Labor Department will have a $9.6 billion budget, a cut of $2.5 billion or 21% lower than 2017:
- Reduces funds towards ineffective, duplicate, and peripheral job training grants.
- Decreases support for job training and employment service formula grants, letting the states handle that.
- Eliminate the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s unproven training grants.
- Expands Reemployment and Eligibility Assessments
More Funds for Defense
As Trump noted, defense has been his pet project before he won the nomination and the presidency. This means more money for defense. He laid out his plans for the Pentagon, who would receive a $639 billion budget. That’s an increase of $52 billion from 2017:
- Helps provide resources to wipe out ISIS
- Rebuild forces by concentrating on insufficient stocks of munitions, personnel gaps, maintenance, modernization, cyber vulnerabilities, and degraded facilities.
- Build more ships for the Navy.
- Ready and fully equipped Marines>
- Air Force investments for maintenance capacity, training systems, and more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
Additional Funds for Homeland Security
But security at home for Trump also includes DHS, which he wants to give a $44.1 billion budget, a 6.8% increase from 2017:
- $2.6 billion for a wall and border security technology.
- $314 million to recruit, hire, and train 500 new Border Patrol and ICE agents.
- $1.5 billion above 2017 to expand detention, transportation, removal of illegal immigrants
- $1.5 billion to protect Federal networks from critical infrastructure from an attack
- Eliminate and reduce unauthorized and underperforming programs by the TSA.
Congress Reacts to Trump’s Budget
Those on The Hill have already reacted to the budget. Here are a few initial reactions:
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the budget was a shift in the right direction after eight years of Democratic blueprints from the White House.
“We are determined to work with the administration to shrink the size of government, grow our economy, secure our borders, and ensure our troops have the tools necessary to complete their missions,” Ryan said.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York signaled that Democrats would fight the proposal tooth-and-nail.
“The very programs that most help the middle class are those that get clobbered the hardest: investments in infrastructure, education, scientific research that leads to cures for diseases all take big hits” Schumer said. “Democrats in Congress will emphatically oppose these cuts.”
Sen. John McCain said the “budget proposed today cannot pass the Senate” because the increase in defense does not go far enough.