The White House released its budget blueprint for the 2018 fiscal year this week. The big news for the federal workforce was the proposed cuts to retirement. However, the primary purpose of the budget is to set funding for federal agencies.
Dubbed by the White House as the “Taxpayer First Budget,” President Trump said that he directed the budget to emphasize national security and public safety. Consequently, cuts were made in places to help raise funds for increased military spending and more funds at agencies such as DHS.
“This Budget Blueprint follows through on my promise to focus on keeping Americans safe, keeping terrorists out of our country, and putting violent offenders behind bars,” said Trump.
Regarding proposed cuts at federal agencies, Trump said, “These cuts are sensible and rational. Every agency and department will be driven to achieve greater efficiency and to eliminate wasteful spending in carrying out their honorable service to the American people.”
These are highlights from the budget blueprint for some of the larger federal agencies.
Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA has been the target of budget cuts under the Trump administration, and the latest proposal is no different and arguably goes even further.
Under the 2018 blueprint, the EPA would see its budget reduced by 31% overall. It requests $5.7 billion for the agency, a savings of $2.6 billion over 2017 levels. Cuts include eliminating funding for the Clean Power Plan and for specific regional efforts such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It also emphasizes concentrating EPA’s enforcement of environmental protection violations on programs that are not delegated to States.
The VA would see an increase in its overall budget to the tune of 6% ($4.4 billion) over 2017 levels. An additional $4.6 billion would go to increase discretionary funding for VA health care to improve patient access and timeliness of medical care services. The Veterans Choice Program would also be extended to prevent it from expiring in August.
President Trump has been vocal about providing support to veterans for their service. “The 2018 Budget fulfills the President’s commitment to the Nation’s veterans by requesting the resources necessary to provide the support our veterans have earned through sacrifice and service to our Nation,” according to a statement in the budget proposal.
The budget requests $44.1 billion for HHS, a $2.8 billion (6.8%) increase over 2017. $2.6 billion is allocated for a border wall, and $1.5 billion would go towards expanding detention, transportation, and removal of illegal immigrants.
TSA would see some cuts as well. Reductions would be made to the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response program and elimination to TSA grants to state and local jurisdictions.
Health and Human Services
The budget requests $69.0 billion for HHS, a 17.9% decrease over 2017 levels. Cuts include a $5.8 billion spending reduction and $403 million in health professions and nursing training programs. The budget says, however, that it “strengthens the integrity and sustainability of Medicare and Medicaid by investing in activities to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse and promote high quality and efficient health care.”
DOJ has a requested budget of $27.7 billion, $1.1 billion (3.8%) lower than 2017 levels. Despite the overall reduction, the budget blueprint says it takes a tougher stance on illegal immigration by providing 60 additional border enforcement prosecutors and 40 deputy U.S. Marshals for the apprehension, transportation, and prosecution of criminal aliens and combats illegal entry into the U.S. by providing an increase of nearly $80 million to hire 75 additional immigration judge teams to bolster removal proceedings.
Provides $1.5 billion, an increase of more than $100 million, for the U.S. Census Bureau to continue preparations for the 2020 Decennial Census. This additional funding prioritizes fundamental investments in information technology and eld infrastructure, which would allow the bureau to more effectively administer the 2020 Decennial Census.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA would see a slight decrease in its overall budget. The 2018 request is for $19.1 billion, 0.8% lower than 2017 levels.