By Kim Soffen and Denise Lu
On Thursday, the Trump administration released a preliminary 2018 budget proposal, which details many of the changes the president wants to make to the federal government’s spending. The proposal covers only discretionary, not mandatory, spending.
To pay for an increase in defense spending, a down payment on the border wall and school voucher programs, among other things, funding was cut from the discretionary budgets of other executive departments and agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and the Agriculture Department took the hardest hits. The proposal also completely defunded 19 agencies.
Discretionary spending limits, addressed by this proposal, are set by congressional budget resolutions. Congress typically makes changes to the president’s proposal - last year, lawmakers disregarded Obama’s budget altogether. Mandatory spending, by contrast, is set by other laws and is often determined by the size of the benefit and the eligible population.
Here’s how each agency’s discretionary funding would be affected by Trump’s proposal:
The Trump administration is seeking to cut 21 percent of the Agriculture Department’s discretionary spending budget, though it hasn’t detailed what precisely will be cut. The vulnerable programs include rural development and research grants but exclude SNAP (food stamps) and crop subsidies. The USDA will also reduce staff by an unspecified amount at various service center agencies around the country.
- Eliminates the $200 million McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program
- Eliminates the $500 million Water and Wastewater loan and grant program
- Cuts Women, Infants and Children nutrition assistance from $6.4 billion to $6.2 billion
- Unspecified staff reductions at USDA service center agencies around the country
- Cuts $95 million from the Rural Business and Cooperative Service
As part of a 16 percent reduction to the Department of Commerce’s budget, the Trump administration is proposing sharp cuts to climate-change and ocean research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Cuts $250 million from coastal research programs that ready communities for rising seas and worsening storms
- Eliminates the popular $73 million Sea Grant program, which operates in conjunction with universities in 33 states
- Eliminates the Economic Development Administration, which gives out grants in struggling communities
- Cuts federal funding to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Under the Trump administration budget, the Defense Department would get a 9 percent increase in discretionary funding - but only about 3 percent more than what it spent last year. President Trump has cast it as a historic increase in defense spending, but critics say it is actually more of an incremental boost and much smaller than what he promised on the campaign trail.
- Increases the size of the Army and Marine Corps
- Increases the number of ships in the Navy’s fleet
- Buys F-35 Joint Strike Fighters more rapidly
- Increases spending to keep Air Force combat planes ready to fly
The Education Department faces a 14 percent cut under the Trump administration budget, which would downsize or eliminate a raft of grants, including for teacher training, afterschool programs, and aid to low-income and minority college students. The cuts would be coupled with a historic investment - $1.4 billion - in charter schools, private schools and other school-choice initiatives.
- Cuts $3.7 billion in grants for teacher training, after-school and summer programs, and aid programs to first-generation and low-income students
- “Significantly” reduces federal work-study aid to college students
- Increases charter school funding by $168 million
- Creates new private-school choice program with $250 million
- Spends $1 billion to encourage districts to allow federal dollars meant for low-income students to follow those students to the public school of their choice
The Trump budget proposal, which cuts the Energy Department’s budget by 6 percent, would boost spending on managing the nation’s nuclear stockpile and revive the controversial Yucca Mountain storage facility for nuclear power plant waste. It would slash spending on a host of science and climate areas.
- Cuts $900 million from the Office of Science
- Eliminates the Energy Star, Weatherization Assistance Program, ARPA-E, Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, and Title 17 loan guarantees
- Gives the Yucca Mountain project $120 million to restart licensing operations
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
The Trump administration proposed an 18 percent decrease for HHS, one of the largest and most sprawling departments within the government. That sum excludes funding for the insurance provided by Medicare and Medicaid, two vast entitlement programs for older and lower-income Americans. In a rare move, those programs were omitted from the brief budget description the Trump administration has released.
- Increases funding for efforts to prevent and treat opioid addictions
- Decreases funding for the National Institutes of Health and certain programs to train health professionals
National Institutes of Health (part of HHS)
The 19 percent cut would affect the billions of dollars NIH gives out to researchers around the globe, as well as studies at its sprawling Bethesda, Md., campus.
- Eliminates the Fogarty International Center, which builds partnerships between U.S. and foreign health research institutions
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
The proposal would increase funding to DHS by 7 percent. This money primarily goes toward big boosts in spending on border and immigration enforcement - for a border wall, for 500 new Border Patrol agents, and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
- Cuts $667 million from grant programs to state and local agencies, including pre-disaster mitigation grants and counterterrorism funding
- Raises the TSA Passenger Security Fee, currently $5.60 for a passenger flying out of a U.S. airport
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
The 13 percent cut in funding for HUD will put tremendous strain on housing authorities across the country, which manage public housing and rely heavily on federal funding.
- Eliminates the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program
- Eliminates the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the Choice Neighborhoods program and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program
- Raises funding for lead-hazard reduction from $110 million to $130 million
- Eliminates the $35 million of funding for Section 4 Community Development and Affordable Housing
Under the Trump administration proposal, the Interior Department faces a 12 percent cut. That could strain everyday maintenance of national parks and historic sites, as well as enforcement of activity such as illegal wildlife trafficking at the nation’s borders.
- Eliminates funding for the 49 National Historic Sites
- Decreases funding for land acquisition by $120 million
- Wildfire suppression funding is likely to see a marginal increase
The budget proposal boosts the DOJ’s tough-on-crime and anti-immigration efforts - putting money toward targeting criminal organizations and drug traffickers, and hiring immigration judges, border enforcement prosecutors and additional deputy U.S. marshals. The DOJ budget’s overall 4 percent decrease appears to come from a reduction in federal prison construction because of a reduced prison population and reducing spending on mostly unnamed “outdated” programs.
- Cuts funding to reimburse state and local governments for costs of incarcerating certain undocumented immigrants
- Cuts almost $1 billion of funding for federal prison construction
- Adds $249 million of funding for the FBI, largely aimed at counterterrorism, cyber threats, more timely firearms purchase background checks and more crime data
- Adds $80 million to adjudicate immigrant removal proceedings and hire more attorneys
The 21 percent proposed cut in the Labor Department reduces funding for job training programs that benefit seniors and disadvantaged youth. The proposal would also shift funding responsibility to states for certain job placement programs.
- Eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which helps low-income seniors find work
- Closes poor-performing centers for Job Corps, a job-training program for disadvantaged youth
- Eliminates grants that help nonprofit groups and public agencies pay for safety and health training
- Expands efforts to reduce improper payments made to people receiving unemployment benefits
STATE DEPARTMENT, USAID AND TREASURY INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM
The 29 percent proposed cut to the State Department refocuses economic and development aid to countries of the greatest strategic importance to the U.S., and it shifts some foreign military aid from grants to loans. It also requires State and USAID to reorganize and consolidate.
- Eliminates climate-change prevention programs, including pledged payments to U.N. climate-change programs
- Reduces funding for U.N. peacekeeping
- Reduces funding for development banks such as the World Bank
- Reduces most cultural-exchange programs, but keeps the Fulbright Program
The Transportation Department’s budget would shrink by 13 percent. The spending plan would move what has been a core government function - air traffic control - outside of government hands, and push responsibility for many transit and other projects to localities.
- Shifts air traffic control outside the government
- Eliminates funding for many new transit projects and support for long-distance Amtrak trains
- Eliminates $175 million in subsidies for commercial flights to rural airports
- Cuts $499 million from the TIGER grant program, which has funded dozens of road, transit and other projects
The Treasury’s budget would shrink by 4 percent, with other funds reallocated toward the department’s security missions: preventing hacking, seizing terrorists’ bank accounts and enforcing sanctions on foreign adversaries.
- Reduces funding for the Internal Revenue Service by $239 million
- Eliminates grants for Community Development Financial Institutions, which provide financial services in economically distressed neighborhoods
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
VA would be one of the few departments to see its budget grow, by 6 percent to $78.9 billion. Most of the increase would improve veterans’ access to doctors and support services following a scandal in 2014 over patient wait times. The money would also help fill some of the agency’s more than 45,000 vacant medical positions. Veterans Choice, a program that gives patients the option to see private doctors outside the VA system, would also expand.
- Adds $4.4 billion in new funding to expand health services and modernize VA’s benefit claims system and other services
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Trump’s budget begins to dismantle the EPA, shrinking its funding by 31 percent and eliminating a fifth of its workforce. More than 50 programs would be eliminated altogether, including Energy Star; grants that help states and cities fight air pollution; an office focused on environmental justice and cleanup efforts in the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes; and infrastructure assistance to Alaskan native villages and along the Mexican border. Funding for drinking water infrastructure would remain intact, but the agency’s scienctific research would suffer massive cuts.
- Eliminates more than 50 programs and 3,200 jobs
- Discontinues funding for international climate-change programs
- Cuts funding for the Office of Research and Development in half
- Cuts funding for the Superfund cleanup program and the Office of Enforcement and Compliance
- Prioritizes drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
NASA will see only a small cut - about 1 percent of its 2017 budget. But the cuts come almost entirely from Earth-observing and education programs, suggesting that Trump aims to make good on campaign promises to shift NASA’s focus away from our planet. The budget also directs NASA to find ways to collaborate with the commercial space industry. It makes no mention of the Journey to Mars, which is likely to add to speculation that Trump wants to shift NASA’s focus to the moon.
- Cuts $102 million of funding from Earth science, terminating four missions aimed at understanding climate-change
- Eliminates the $115 million Office of Education
- Cuts $88 million from the Robotic Refueling Mission, which develops techniques to repair satellites
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
The Trump administration is proposing to cut about 5 percent of the Small Business Administration’s budget. The new plan would eliminate $12 million worth of technical-assistance grants and other programs where the administration thinks the private sector already “provides efficient mechanisms” for small-business development and growth.
- Eliminates PRIME technical-assistance grants, Growth Accelerators and Regional Innovation Clusters, saving about $12 million
- Cuts $1 million of $46 million of loan guarantees currently available to small-business owners
ARTS AND CULTURAL AGENCIES
The Trump administration’s proposal calls for eliminating four cultural agencies and their collective $971 million budgets. Most of the funds support nonprofit groups across the country, such as dance companies, radio stations, orchestras and theaters.
- Eliminates all $148 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and all $148 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities
- Eliminates the $230 million Institute of Museum and Library Services
- Eliminates the $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports public television and radio, including PBS and NPR
AGENCIES TO BE HIT
In total, the budget proposes to eliminate funding for these 19 agencies:
- African Development Foundation
- Appalachian Regional Commission
- Chemical Safety Board
- Corporation for National and Community Service
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting
- Delta Regional Authority
- Denali Commission
- Institute of Museum and Library Services
- Inter-American Foundation
- U.S. Trade and Development Agency
- Legal Services Corporation
- National Endowment for the Arts
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
- Northern Border Regional Commission
- Overseas Private Investment Corporation
- U.S. Institute of Peace
- U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Source: Office of Management and Budget