President Donald Trump has released his budget proposal for the next fiscal year and it upholds some of his core campaign promises. Trump ran on a platform of reducing the federal bureaucracy along with expanding the budget of the US military and border security. His budget proposal holds true to those campaign promises.
The proposal, which has to be approved by Congress before it becomes law, outlines Trump’s plan to reduce funding for some of the country’s key federal agencies. To pay for the $54 billion increase in defense spending, Trump wants to drastically reduce funding for agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), State Department, Labor Department and Agriculture Department (USDA).
The EPA is going to take the hardest hit if the budget is passed by Congress, with the proposal suggesting the agency’s annual budget should be reduced by 31%. The State Department is going to absorb a slightly less reduction of its federal funding (29%) and the USDA along with the Labor Department will both lose 21% of its federal funding.
The list of other federal agencies that are going to lose some of their federal funding is quite extensive. The rest include: the Department of Health and Human Services, Commerce Department, Education Department, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Transportation Department, Interior Department, Energy Department, Small Business Administration, Treasury Department, Justice Department, and finally NASA.
With all of these agencies and departments losing part of their federal funding, there are other sectors that the money will be re-allocated to. As I mentioned above, there will be a $54 billion increase in the Pentagon’s budget. That is the largest budget increase in the proposal, but border security and school choice will receive some of the re-allocated money as well. Also, there will be increases in the budget of the Department of Veteran Affairs (6%) and the Department of Homeland Security (7%).
This budget proposal was met with some criticism from Congressional Republicans. Representative Harold Rodgers from Kentucky, who was previously on the House Appropriations Committee said, “While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the president’s skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive.”
He followed up that statement by saying, “Congress ultimately has the power of the purse.”
Unsurprisingly, Democrats were particularly critical of Trump’s budget request, with Senator Nancy Pelosi stating, “As we have said over and over again in this room, the budget—the federal budget—should be a statement of our national values… This budget is not a statement of values of anyone.”
The budget for the next fiscal year does not have to be passed until October 1st, so there is ample amount of time to refine Trump’s budget request; however, a potential government shutdown could be looming. On April 28th, Congress must pass a measure to keep the government running since this is the self-imposed deadline where the funding for the current fiscal years runs out. If both parties cannot agree on terms for the next fiscal year, then a government shutdown could ensue.
Trump has requested almost $3 billion for his Southern border wall, which he said on the campaign trail, would be paid for by Mexico. Both Democrats and Republicans are hesitant to put the burden on the American taxpayer.
–Contributed by: Bobby Amendola