Trump administration intends to change course on budget: White House official

Henrietta Brewer
March 20, 2017

"If they put those poison pill amendments in and try to shove them down the American people's throats, of course they might be responsible for shutting the government down", the NY senator said in a Thursday press conference.

The administration's budget proposal set federal employee unions afire with discontent over what they called "anemic levels of funding".

Schumer's Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell accused his fellow leader of hypocrisy, now that Democrats are in the minority. And yet, the Trump budget is focused on "protecting" America from worldwide terrorists, who kill fewer Americans every year than falling televisions.

The two sides have until late April to fund the government and avert a shutdown.

The blueprint has seen drastic spending cuts in the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other domestic programs as Trump seeks to boost military spending and make a down payment on US-Mexico border wall.

EPA enforcement was also reduced by $129 million, and another $347 million was cleaved from the elimination of 50 agency programs, including environmental programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay Program and other regional programs.

Senator Marco Rubio of the Republican Party said he does not support the proposed 28 per cent cut to global affairs budget and diplomatic efforts led by the State Department.

But the budget also proposes to cut funding for the National Institutes of Health by almost 20 percent, to $25.9 billion. By ending numerous federal aid programs, the Trump budget would cut the need for high-paid bureaucrats in Washington to administer the money going back to the states. We can't spend money on programs just because they sound good.

"We are encouraged to see that state health agency priorities, such as flexible funding to meet state and territorial public health needs and the public health Emergency Fund, are in the President's Budget", said Michael Fraser, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, in an email. But as Trump's statement suggests, the proposed 10% increase in defense spending is about messaging strength, not necessarily using it, which is not an inherently bad thing. "And I can assure you that we did not write this budget with an eye toward what it would do to the value of your condo". House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said he was "very concerned that deep cuts to our diplomacy will hurt efforts to combat terrorism, distribute critical humanitarian aid and promote opportunities for American workers".

Declaring that there's "no demonstrable evidence" that such programs improve school performance, Mulvaney suggested that they're an onerous burden on taxpayers that would be better eliminated.

That's welcome news after eight years of Obama-era weakness that cut the Pentagon budget by $100 billion between 2011 and 2014 alone, a 15 percent plunge.

Some programs are slated for complete elimination, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Community and Public Service, which runs AmeriCorps.

Still, the specter of Trump prompted sharp debate in the state Senate last week as freshman Senator Marisol Alcantara objected to Senator Michael Gianaris accusing her and the Independent Democratic Conference of being Trump supporters.

But Inslee said he's expecting big reductions in federal spending on education, housing, health care, job training and economic development programs.

The budget blueprint completely eliminates one billion dollars in funding for arts and culture programs.

It also proposes to eliminate the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which helps low-income senior citizens find jobs.

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