President Trump is suggesting cuts to every non-defense related government agency in the U.S. totaling about $54 billion dollars, which is intended to fund an equal increase in defense spending.
While the “budget blueprint” totals $1.1 trillion, about a quarter of President Obama’s last $4.1 trillion budget proposal for fiscal 2017, Trump’s total comes by way of extraordinary cuts to several government agencies, including the Commerce, Labor and State departments, and the wholesale elimination of funding for agencies and programs like the Trade and Development Agency, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Overseas Private Investment Corp.
Commerce, for example, which promotes job creation, secure and fair trade and innovation, is facing a 16 percent budget cut, a decrease of $1.5 billion. The cuts include the elimination of the Economic Development Administration, which provides stimulus grants to economically distressed communities and cancels funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, aimed at strengthening domestic small and midsize manufacturers.
Trump also suggested a 21 percent cut of $2.5 billion for the Labor Department and a shift of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs to focus on “ensuring that U.S. trade agreements are fair for American workers,” according to the budget.
The Department of Justice, which often pursues large-scale counterfeiting and corporate cybersecurity issues, along with myriad other crimes, is also looking at a roughly 4 percent cut of $1.1 billion. Moreover, Trump’s budget suggests moving a bulk of the agency’s funding to dealing with terrorism, violent crime, “the nation’s opioid epidemic” and illegal immigration.
Trump also proposed increasing fees associated with bankruptcy filings, a move that will purportedly create an additional $150 million in funds for the DOJ and “ensure that those that use the bankruptcy court system pay for its oversight.” The specific level of increase is yet to be detailed.
As for the various cuts, Trump said they are “sensible and rational” and the budget is set to “reprioritize federal spending so that it advances the safety and security of the American people.”
“A budget that puts America first must make the safety of our people it’s number-one priority — because without safety, there can be no prosperity,” Trump added.
Close to 20 other programs and small agencies are also being eliminated, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Education, Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation and the Department of the Interior are all facing cuts of between 11 and upward of 31 percent.
Meanwhile, the budget proposes increasing total defense spending 10 percent to $639 billion for fiscal 2018, one of the largest single-year defense budget increases in history. The proposed defense budget is exceeded only by increases during the Reagan administration and certain peaks during the World Wars and conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Other than Defense, the only federal agencies set to see more money are Homeland Security, with a proposed 6.8 increase increase to $44.1 billion and Veterans Affairs, with a 6 percent proposed increase to $78.9 billion.
Thursday’s blueprint is akin to an outline of Trump’s plans for the 2018 budget and the administration intends to release a full budget later this spring which will include tax-related and mandatory proposals.
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