Friday, March 17, 2017

OMB Director: Trump budget rebuilds military, cuts waste

A big concern for many conservatives has been President Trump’s promises of increased spending in many areas. Trump’s promises of more money for the military and infrastructure have many worried that the increased spending will explode the deficit. However, the director of the Office of Management and Budget pointed out in a new budget blueprint that Trump’s spending increases will be offset by cuts in other areas.

In the Washington Free Beacon, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said, “This is the ‘America First' budget. In fact, we wrote it using the president's own words—we went through his speeches, articles that have been written about his policies, we talked to him, and we wanted to know what his policies were, and we turned those policies into numbers.”

A big winner in the first Trump budget is defense, which is slated for a $54 billion increase split between the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. The Defense Department budget would be increased by nine percent and Homeland Security by seven percent.

“We've worked very closely with the Defense Department to make sure, a couple of things, that this funds their needs but does so in a responsible fashion in terms of what they can actually spend this year,” Mulvaney said. “The Defense Department has told us this is the amount of money they need and can spend effectively this year. We are not throwing money after a problem and claiming that we have fixed it.”

The budget also allocates $4.1 billion over two years for Mr. Trump’s border wall. The figures for the first two years include tests to determine the efficiency and safety of different types of barriers. Mulvaney noted that a 10-year cost projection would accompany the full budget when it is released in May.

Mulvaney pointed out that these spending increases would be offset by cuts in other parts of the budget. “You will see reductions exactly where you would expect it from a president who just ran on an ‘America First’ campaign,” Mulvaney said. “You’ll see reductions in many agencies as he tries to shrink the role of government, drive efficiencies, go after waste, duplicative programs, those types of things.”

“The president ran saying he would spend less money overseas and more money back home,” Mulvaney said. “So when you go to implement that policy you go to things like foreign aid, and those get reduced. If those had been in the Department of Education you'd see a dramatic decrease in education.”

In fact, the Department of Education’s budget was cut overall, but charter school funding and school choice programs saw an increase. Some of the other notable items in the budget blueprint include:
  • ·         Cuts Homeland Security grants to local and state agencies
  • ·         Raises TSA security fees for airline passengers
  • ·         Eliminates funding for 49 National Historic Sites
  • ·         Cuts funding to reimburse state and local governments for detaining illegal immigrants
  • ·         Increases funding and lawyers for illegal immigrant removal
  • ·         Eliminates climate change prevention programs
  • ·         Reduces funding for UN peacekeeping
  • ·         Privatizes the air traffic control system
  • ·         Eliminates funding for many transportation projects
  • ·         Cuts NASA budget by one percent

According to the Washington Post, the big losers in the new budget are the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department, which lose almost a third of their budgets. The Department of Agriculture and the Labor Department also received cuts greater than 20 percent. Other departments on the chopping block with cuts of more than 10 percent included Health and Human Services, Commerce, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Interior.

The full budget will be released in May and will include more detail on the cuts and a 10-year projection for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicaid. Entitlement and safety net programs make up more than half of the federal budget according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The full budget is subject to approval and amendment by Congress.

Originally published on The Resurgent

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