Government affairs

Legislative Updates

White House releases FY2018 budget request outline

This week, the White House released its Fiscal Year 2018 “Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.”

As is customary with presidential budget requests, the blueprint outlines the views and priorities of the administration but is seldom met with enthusiasm by members of Congress who drive the budget and appropriations process.

Dubbed the “skinny budget” due to its lack of detail on specifics program cuts, the request seeks to increase defense spending by $54 billion and decrease domestic spending by $54 billion. The proposal also seeks to change the spending caps for the current fiscal year—raising defense spending by $25 billion and lowering non-defense spending by $15 billion.

The administration’s outline would require all agencies to decrease agency spending with the exception of the Departments of Social Security, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and Defense.

The agencies in jeopardy of the deepest cuts appear to be the Department of Agriculture and the State Department, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, which could see between 20 percent and 30 percent of its budgets cut. These agencies tackle issues such as clean energy, environment, aid to foreign countries, health and medical research, and food and housing programs that benefit the poor.

The Trump administration also has signaled its desire to eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The administration is expected to provide a more detailed request, including agency-specific program requests, in May. In the meantime, Congress will begin considering how it approaches the budget and the appropriations process this spring, and it is expected to keep the administration’s overall priorities in mind.

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