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October 2017

Summary

In March of this year, the White House released what many characterize as a draconian budget plan for the fiscal year 2018. The 1.1 trillion dollar budget would increase spending on defense, infrastructure, paid leave, and a few other items, but would reduce overall spending substantially compared to the current federal budget. The plan would cut numerous programs. Trump’s budget is viewed as a departure point for negotiations in Congress that will fine tune

Funding would be significantly reduced for programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, Social Security Disability Insurance, Federal pensions, earned income tax credit subsidies. The federal student loan forgiveness program, and discretionary programs. Trump’s plan also called for major reductions in allocated for federal agencies such as the EPA,  FEMA, the Department of Education, the Agriculture Department, the Department of State, the National Weather Service and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program (proposed to be eliminated.

In September the House passed a modified version of the White House budget calling for $1.2 trillion in spending, and restoring funding for several of the programs that had been severely cut by the White House. For example, the Community Development Block Grant, which many members of Congress noted helps fund Meals on Wheels, were targeted for elimination in the administration’s blueprint. The House cut $100 million but left $2.9 billion of the funding intact.

The House left its funding untouched for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, and only slashed 3 percent from the National Endowment for the Arts, which Trump had also slated for elimination.On healthcare research, the House approved a whopping $1.1 billion increase for the National Institute of Health. Trump proposed cutting the agency’s funding by $7.5 billion.

The Senate recently passed a budget resolution somewhat similar to the one passed by the House. Passage of the GOP’s budget blueprint is a largely symbolic exercise, but it sets the stage for smoother passage of Trump’s upcoming tax cuts. It will include special instructions that allow for passage of a tax plan by a simple majority, without threat of a Senate filibuster to block it. This is known as reconciliation.

The Senate and House need to resolve the differences in their budget before a final Congressional budget is passed that then gets sent to the White House for signature.

Analysis

President Trump’s budget would reduce the federal deficit — but it would not balance the budget over a decade as the White House promised,  according to analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Its report said that over a decade, the president’s proposed fiscal 2018 budget would reduce the cumulative deficit by one-third relative to the CBO’s baseline projection that assumes revenue and spending policies would stay largely unchanged. The U.S. would run a budget deficit of $720 billion in 2027, versus the surplus that the White House projected under its policy, according to CBO estimates. The projection said Trump’s budget would make the deficit fall by $3.3 trillion from 2018 to 2027, a much lower reduction than what the White House promised.

Trump’s budget and related tax plan would add to the incomes of the rich, while taking away from the poor.“It’s just the complete obverse of what Obama was doing,” said Jared Bernstein,  chief economist to former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr.  in an interview with the Washington Post,“These folks seem to look at the economy and conclude that the wealthy don’t have enough and the poor have too much, and they’re going to fix that.”

Engagement Resources

  • Town Hall Project– This project compiles the open-to-the-public events held by state and local representatives. This provides a great opportunity to tell them that this executive order will do more bad than good. You can also dial 1-844-6-RESIST to be redirected to the office of your local member of Congress.
  • US Senate – Contact your local representatives to take a stance against this proposed legislation. – https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
  • US House of Representatives – Contact your local representatives to take a stance against this proposed legislation – http://www.house.gov/representatives/

This Brief was compiled by Vaibhav Kumar. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this Brief please contact vaibhav@usresistnews.org


 

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