Trump Budget Rush and Confusion

Trump Budget Rush and Confusion

It is an amazing rush to develop a budget in ten days to two weeks to a 9% increase in defense spending, or adding $54 billion to $603 billion, and to cut non-defense spending by 10.5% or decreasing the $516 billion by $54 billion to $462 billion. This does not sound like good government, or an analogy to good business, or a way to treat executive branch employees, or business suppliers to the government. In this time, the agencies are to find projects to cut, and the White House amateurs will choose which ones to enact. Guidelines are just general, but include climate science and clean energy. Neither the Congress nor the public is being asked for their opinion at this point. No government or non-profit or academic reports are being used for advice on these raises or cuts. No public justification has been given for the massive proposed and future military spending. Usually it takes most of a year to consider a budget, including a lot of congressional review.

The government is currently running on yet another continuing resolution, good until April 28. This keeps a spending level of last year, when Obama was President. The definition of the budget year 2017 runs from Oct. 1 of 2016 to Sept. 30 of 2017.   Trump is hastily gathering information for his 2018 budget, which will start on Oct. 1, 2017.  He has told agencies how much they should cut, at least for the Department of State, and the EPA.  They have also been told which areas to cut, such as foreign aid in State, and the Clean Energy Plan and the Climate Science in the EPA.  One report says that the EPA should report by the end of business Wednesday March 1, and other by Friday.

Initially it was said that the agencies must report by the Ides of March, but now it seems that the administration will put out the so-called “skinny budget” by mid March.  Is Congress supposed to just lay back and accept all of the cuts? Are Republicans just going to rely on the Democrats in the Senate to filibuster the cuts, so they don’t turn off Trump supporters? Remember, states and government funded groups as well as defense contractors are spread around the country. No Republicans or Democrats want to see Universities or Medical facilities, or patients, or clean energy, or local businesses, cut in their districts. A third possibility is that the Congress holds up the budget well past the April 28 deadline, in which case they pass another continuing resolution for the rest of the fiscal year, and then the 2017 budget becomes the 2018 budget.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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