budget stuff
November 19, 2019

It's been a busy day for Congress.

In between public impeachment hearings, House lawmakers voted 231-192 to pass a continuing resolution that will postpone a government shutdown fight until Dec. 20. That's good news in the sense that there won't be a shutdown in two days, which was the initial deadline, but The Hill notes that broader spending negotiations were stalled.

Republicans and Democrats remain at odds over funding for President Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats are trying to avoid providing Trump with the $5 billion he's requested for the wall by allocating that amount to the Homeland Security bill. If that were to happen, it could potentially mean that the amount would come out of other bills that they're prioritizing such as the Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education bill.

The continuing resolution did include provisions providing funding for U.S. census efforts and a 3.1 percent military pay raise, The Hill notes, so it wasn't purely a stopgap.

The Senate is expected to pass the measure quickly, The Hill reports, and Trump reportedly supports the action. Read more at The Hill. Tim O'Donnell

March 9, 2019

President Trump is set to unveil a blueprint for the federal budget on Monday.

The proposal is expected to consist of 5 percent cuts to a range of domestic and international programs. The Washington Post reports that foreign aid, environmental protection, and transportation are among the initiatives expected to face slashes. Trump has reportedly told aides that Medicare and Social Security cannot be cut because they are popular among older Americans.

Alternatively, the Associated Press reports that the plan is expected to prioritize increased spending in some areas, with an additional $750 billion slotted for border security and defense, including new funds for Space Force.

The White House says the plan will lead to a balanced budget in 15 years. Trump's advisers believe that the revenue created from the administration's 2017 tax cuts will generate a 3 percent annual growth rate for the U.S. economy, which they argue — in addition to the cuts in Trump's budget proposal — will offset the federal deficit by 2035.

The budget has little chance of becoming law, however, due to bipartisan resistance to several aspects of the plan. Tim O'Donnell

March 16, 2017

The Trump administration's budget proposes the elimination of all funding to programs including the National Endowment of the Arts, Meals on Wheels, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a decision Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended Thursday by citing coal miners and single moms, Politico reports.

"When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no," Mulvaney told the hosts of Morning Joe on Thursday. "We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can't ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting."

The Trump administration has proposed raising spending on the Defense Department by $54 billion and setting aside $2.8 billion for the Mexico border wall in the fiscal year 2018. Trump would also cut funding entirely for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Legal Services Corporation, the Chemical Safety Board, Amtrack long-distance routes, the Energy Star program, and other agencies and programs. Health, education, and workforce funding would see $25 billion in cuts. And as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting gives money to NPR and PBS, those programs could also expect to feel a squeeze.

"A lot of those programs that we target, they sound great, don't they? They always do," Mulvaney said. He added: "They don't work. A lot of them simply don't work. I can't justify them to the folks who are paying the taxes. I can't go to the autoworker in Ohio and say 'please give me some of your money so that I can do this program over here, someplace else, that really isn't helping anybody." Jeva Lange

March 14, 2017

Ahead of the White House's scheduled release of its 2018 budget proposal Thursday, people familiar with the discussions tell Foreign Policy that State Department staffers have been instructed to cut 50 percent or more of U.S. funding to United Nations programs. The proposal would affect peacekeeping efforts across the world, including in Syria and Yemen, as well as campaigns that provide vaccines to children, fight famine, and monitor nuclear weapons programs.

The United States, for example, contributed $1.5 billion to the United Nations' refugee agency's $4 billion budget last year. Trump's proposal would "leave a gaping hole that other big donors would struggle to fill," said U.N. expert Richard Gowan. "Multiply that across other humanitarian agencies, like the World Food Program, and you are basically talking about the breakdown of the international humanitarian system as we know it."

In December, Trump complained on Twitter that "the United Nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk, and have a good time. So sad!" He added: "As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20."

The United States is the biggest contributor to the U.N.'s budget, funding 22 percent of the organization's costs, with Japan the next biggest contributor at 9.7 percent. Read more about what specific programs could be hit at Foreign Policy. Jeva Lange

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