President Proposes Spending Priorities for Congress to Consider

Update from the National Council of Nonprofits.

The White House released a preliminary budget blueprint for Fiscal Year 2018, which begins on October 1, that has been called “draconian” and “dead on arrival” by some in his own party. The budget proposal, which is essentially a request for funding by Congress (which has the “power of the purse” under the Constitution), seeks $54 billion in increased defense spending and calls for an equal level of spending cuts in domestic programs that often support the work of charitable nonprofits on behalf of governments in communities across the country. The President is asking Congress to cut the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 13 percent, the Department of Health and Human Services by 18 percent, the State Department by 28 percent, and the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent. The blueprint proposes to eliminate funding for several programs, including the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Legal Services Corporation; the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

The so-called “skinny budget” only contains top-line spending requests; the more detailed budget proposal that contains policy specifics, data tables, and itemized spending levels for all programs, is not expected until May. Congress must enact twelve spending bills by September 30 or pass a stopgap funding measure known as a “continuing resolution” (CR). The federal government is operating in the current FY 2017 fiscal year under a CR that expires on April 28, meaning that Congress must address immediate decisions on spending to keep the federal government open through September 30 before turning to the proposals President Trump published last week.

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