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Fiscal 2018 White House budget proposal released and it is not good
Kirill Abbakumov   on Friday, May 26, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

On May 23rd, 2017, the White House released its first full budget proposal calling for dramatic cuts to a range of federal programs, and providing a fresh insight into the administration’s priorities. While the proposed cuts were not unexpected, given the previously-released “skinny” budget in March that highlighted topline cuts to many agency budgets, the full budget documents released in on May 23rd provide more specific information about targeted programs.

The Department of Agriculture would see a myriad of programs eliminated under the FY 2018 budget. The Rural Business and Cooperative Program, Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program, as well as the Rural Economic Development program would all be eliminated given their “failure to meet program goals and duplicating efforts of other agencies.”

For the Department of Commerce, the FY 2018 budget would seek to eliminate the Economic Development Administration on the basis that its grant programs are duplicative of other economic development programs. Federal funding would also be slashed for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) in order to save $124 million from “duplicate efforts of other federal programs and private sectors.” Similar fate and reasoning would await the Minority Business Development Administration (MBDA).

The Department of Education would see a 13.5% reduction in funding from $68.2 billion down to $59 billion in the proposed FY 2018 budget. The proposal would include cuts of roughly $168 million, or 15%, for career and technical education state grants under the Carl D. Perkins CTE Act; $96 million in cuts, or 16% to adult education state grants under WIOA Title II; and more than $500 million in cuts to the federal work-study program that support lower-income college students. The budget proposes eliminating the $730 million Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG). The budget does include funding for the Pell Grant program.

In the proposed FY 2018 budget, the Department of Labor would see a 19.8% decrease in funding from $12.1 billion down to $9.7 billion. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) would see cuts of approximately $1 billion from the three state formula grants under Title I of WIOA, cutting WIOA Adult from $816 million to $490 million, Dislocated Worker state grants from just over $1 billion to $615 million, and reducing youth grants from $873 million to $416 million. This represent about a 40% reduction from current funding levels.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development would see a decrease of funding by 13.2%, from $46.9 billion down to $40.7 billion. Choice Neighborhoods, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, and HOME Investment Partnership program are all slated for elimination, recognizing a greater role for state and local government and the private sector to address community revitalization needs.

The Department of Transportation would receive 12.7% cuts to its current $18.6 billion funding levels, down to $16.2 billion. The FY 2018 budget would seek to effectively eliminate funding for the “unauthorized TIGER discretionary grant program,” as it is suspected in awarding grants to projects that are eligible for funding under existing surface transportation formula programs.

The Budget proposes to eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Delta Regional Authority, the Denali Commission, and the Northern Border Regional Commission.

Though Congress is not expected to adopt all of the President’s proposals, the budget sets an unfortunate baseline for policymakers as they begin the FY 2018 budget and appropriations process.