President Donald Trump released his budget outline for 2018 today, following through on his vow to increase defense spending, while cutting an equal amount from non-defense programs in the budget, as his plans would target a number of popular spending items for elimination, but not get the country any closer to a balanced budget overall.
The budget blueprint released today on covers “discretionary” spending – the $1.1 trillion portion of the budget that does not deal with major entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.
“The American people elected me to fight for their priorities in Washington, D.C. and deliver on my promise to protect our Nation,” the President said in a statement released with the budget plan.
“I fully intend to keep that promise.”
What was issued today was not a fully detailed, line-by-line budget, but rather an overall blueprint, which focused on bottom line numbers at various federal agencies and departments, but steered around nitty gritty details.
But the President did set out a number of specifics on programs that should be cut out entirely, like the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“We are greatly saddened to learn of this proposal for elimination, as NEH has made significant contributions to the public good over its 50-year history,” said NEH Director William Adams.
Some of the proposed cuts would seem likely to generate intense opposition in the Congress, like a $5.8 billion reduction at the National Institutes of Health.
Among the other items that would be eliminated in the Trump budget, “the African Development Foundation; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chemical Safety Board; the Corporation for National and Community Service; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Delta Regional Authority; the Denali Commission; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Inter-American Foundation; the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; the Legal Services Corporation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; the Northern Border Regional Commission; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; the United States Institute of Peace; the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.”
The plan would give the Pentagon $54 billion extra to spend in 2018, while cutting $54 billion from non-defense programs.
But all of it would have to gain the approval of Congress, which would mean a filibuster in the Senate could stop any such spending proposals.
Still, it was the biggest shakeup in a proposed budget since the Reagan Administration.
“Many other Government agencies and departments will also experience cuts,” Mr. Trump said in his written budget submission. “These cuts are sensible and rational.”
One other note – this budget is not balanced. It would still have a deficit of around $480 billion in 2018.
Here is a rundown of some of what is in the Trump budget:
President Trump also sent Congress a supplemental budget request for the current fiscal year, which would add $30 billion for the military, and $3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (much of that for the border wall).
In that request, the President says he wants Congress to cut $18 billion from the budget to offset some of that extra spending.
When you combine the request for $18 billion in cuts this year, plus $54 billion in spending cuts for 2018 – that would be a historic level of $72 billion in cuts to the non-defense portion of the budget, which is about half a trillion dollars.
“Do I think we can cut spending and get waste out of government? Absolutely,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, a former chairman of the Budget Committee.
“Where, and how, and what numbers – that’s something we’ll be figuring out as time goes on,” the Speaker told reporters.