President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled a budget plan that calls for massive cuts to federal programs that assist the poor, fund scientific research and diplomacy. In contrast, Trump’s budget proposes a sharp increase in military spending.
The proposed budget, dubbed “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and then offset that by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies, the Washington Post reported. Some would be hit particularly hard, with reductions of more than 20 percent at the Agriculture, Labor and State departments and of more than 30 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Trump’s budget also calls for the elimination of several federal programs including the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The deep cuts will result in loss of jobs across the federal government. Within EPA alone, 50 programs and 3,200 positions would be eliminated.
The cuts could represent the widest swath of reductions in federal programs since the drawdown after World War II, probably leading to a sizable cutback in the federal non-military workforce, something White House officials said was one of their goals.
“You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it,” White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters. Mulvaney was referring to those that will lose their jobs after said programs are cut. Mulvaney said the White House was open to negotiation as Congress has the final say, but he was unapologetic about the size and scope of the reductions.
Even Republican lawmakers have objected to these massive cuts, particularly cuts that will affect aid for foreign allies and diplomacy. For Trump, the support of these lawmakers is crucial – their vote authorizes these government appropriations.
The proposed 53-page budget plan has been described as the clearest snapshot of Trump’s priorities. However, the plan much shorter than White House budget plans normally are. Additionally, the plan has been described as vague – one of the missing details is precisely where and how many jobs would be lost throughout the federal government. Another missing detail is the unspecified amount of funding that would be cut from U.N. peacekeeping efforts. The biggest increase in spending would be directed at the Pentagon, but the budget plan does not make clear where the new $54 billion would go.
Despite being the clearest snapshot of Trump’s priorities, parts of the proposal also appear to contradict Trump’s agenda. Although Trump has stated he wishes to get rid off all diseases, his proposal cuts funding for the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion, or close to 20 percent. Although Trump has stated he wishes to fund a $1 trillion infrastructure program, the budget plan would remove a Transportation Department program responsible for nearly $500 million in road projects.