nonprofitquarterly.org, Jum Schaffer and Michael Wyland:
First, let’s acknowledge the reality that little if anything reported about Trump’s budget outline will actually become law. It is, to put it briefly, a lot of what we already knew about his intentions toward various agencies and initiatives which NPQ has already covered.
There is a long history of presidential budgets being dead on arrival (DOA) when they reach Capitol Hill. Congress will have the final say in approving expenditures for the president’s signature. This will happen either through the authorization and appropriations processes (known as “regular order” by policy mavens) or through last-minute “continuing resolution” (CR) bills designed to keep the government functioning for short periods of time in the absence of regular order. As NPQ observed yesterday when reporting on the president’s latest “mission impossible”: an executive order mandating a study to recommend reorganizing the executive branch of the federal government in 180 days, there are a myriad of entrenched Congressional, advocacy, beneficiary, and other interests arrayed against any substantive changes in how the federal government does business.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a 62-page “budget outline” Thursday for FY2018, which begins on October 1, 2017. OMB is officially part of the Executive Office of the President, so it’s easy to understand why the document, titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” looks and sounds a lot like a Trump campaign policy paper. Much of the media have focused on the $54 billion in additional funding for defense and homeland security, with a corresponding $54 billion in cuts (for some agencies, deep cuts) to domestic programs, including foreign aid.
For those interested in the math, all the financial information is contained in five pages of “summary table” at the end of the report. The bulk of the report is narrative and bullet points describing how the Trump administration wishes the federal government would spend about $1 trillion of the roughly $4 trillion federal budget.
There is plenty in the blueprint for beneficiaries and advocates of domestic spending programs to be alarmed about. Climate change programs would be eliminated from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as would State Department funding of international climate change efforts. The Agriculture Department would end the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, “which lacks evidence that it is being effectively implemented to reduce food insecurity,” according to OMB. The New York Times has published a department-by-department scorecard of winners and losers. Politico has found six surprises, from increased funding for lead paint mitigation and the upcoming 2020 census to increased airline fees and bankruptcy filing fees.