President's Full FY18 Budget Released
Alaska Governor and Delegation Disagree With Some Elements
By MARY KAUFFMAN
May 24, 2017
In taking these steps, President Trump is pushing back on the toxic Washington conventional wisdom that only Beltway bureaucrats hold the answers to every problem facing the nation.
When presenting the budget in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in Washington D.C., Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said, "The name on the cover is 'The New Foundation for American Greatness'." Brady said it struck him that the title should have been different; that the title should have been, "A Taxpayer First Budget." "Because that's what this is," said Mulvaney.
Mulvaney said, "I think for years and years we’ve simply looked at a budget in terms of the folks who are on the back end of the programs, the recipients of the taxpayer money, and we haven’t spent nearly enough time focusing our attention on the people who pay the taxes."
"Not a single thing in here [the budget] touches Social Security retirement or Medicare," said Mulvaney.
Tuesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Mulvaney said, "We're no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off of those programs. We're not going to measure compassion by the amount of money that we spend, but by the number of people that we help.The budget's combination of regulatory, tax, and welfare reforms will provide opportunities for economic growth and creation."
Among the programs this budget cuts: Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), HOME Investment Partnerships Program, National Wildlife Refuge Fund, Energy Star and Voluntary Climate Programs, Green Climate Fund, and Global Climate Change Initiative.
Rep. Don Young (R-AK) said in a press release, “I’ve served with nine Presidents – that's 45 budget proposals – and none of them really went anywhere. It’s the President’s duty to submit a budget to Congress, but it’s our responsibility to implement one and to set spending. Largely, this budget is a vision document and people shouldn’t get overly excited. If I had to sum it up quickly, I’d say this proposal was dead in Congress before the ink was even dry."
“My team and I are closely examining President Trump’s proposed budget for impacts, both positive and negative, on Alaska" said Alaska Governor Bill Walker in a prepared statement.
Walker said, "We applaud members of the Trump Administration for their interest in responsible resource development on the North Slope. The National Petroleum Reserve, the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and ANWR all hold significant promise for Alaska. We look forward to more positive news in the days and weeks to come."
" However," stated Walker, "we are concerned about what some of the deep cuts, if sustained, would mean for crucial services - like air travel for rural residents and infrastructure assistance to villages. We will continue to work with members of our Congressional delegation and the Trump administration to ensure Alaskans are protected.”
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) also released prepared comments on the President's budget. “This budget request clarifies the blueprint President Trump released in March. Now that he has detailed his priorities, the appropriations committees in Congress will begin the process of setting actual funding levels for Fiscal Year 2018," stated Murkowski.
“A President’s budget is more of a vision than anything else. I agree with the President’s emphasis in this budget on economic growth, a strong national defense, developing our natural resources, and balancing the budget. I am particularly pleased to see a proposal for energy production from the non-wilderness 1002 area and continued investments in Alaska’s defense infrastructure, which will improve Alaska’s economy and strengthen our national security," said Murkowski.
“However," stated Murkowski, "there are elements of this budget I strongly disagree with – especially the drastic cuts to programs intended to help the most vulnerable among us. I will, as always, fight for Alaska’s priorities and work with my colleagues to ensure we do not leave behind those who need help the most.”
U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) also released a statement regarding the President's budget. He said, “As I have said before, it’s important to remember that Congress holds the power of the purse, and will ultimately fund the federal government."
“From my initial review," said Sullivan, "I see some positive elements in [Tuesday's] budget request from the Trump administration, such as opening the non-wilderness 1002 area for responsible resource development, and a continued increase in funding for combatting our nation’s opioid and heroin epidemic – something that I’ve strongly advocated for."
Sullivan said, “With regard to defense spending, while the President’s budget proposal is an improvement and an increase over the severely-depressed Obama-era defense budgets, and includes $170 million of military construction for Alaska, I remain concerned that – in an increasingly dangerous world – this budget proposal does not provide enough resources to really begin rebuilding our military."
“I am strongly opposed to specific reductions in this budget that disproportionately target rural economies across our country, including in Alaska – cutting funds for Essential Air Service, water and wastewater infrastructure, low-income heating assistance, and critical education programs," said Sullivan.
“In the months ahead," Sullivan concluded, "I’ll be working with the other members of the Alaska Delegation to fight for programs and funding that are vital for Alaska and will help grow our economy.”
Rep, Young (R-AK) said in a press release, “Eliminating the Denali Commission is entirely shortsighted. This program – which operates in one of the most geographically diverse and challenging areas in the nation – has made critical improvements to energy, infrastructure and rural development across rural Alaska. This program has fallen under attack before, mainly by those with large urban interests, and I will continue to defend it on the merits and direct impact to our communities to ensure it’s protected in upcoming appropriations.”
“With more than 80 percent of our communities off the road system, Essential Air Service is a critical link to so many of our rural communities," said Young. "As I’ve said before, aviation in Alaskan is not a luxury – as it is in other parts of the country – it’s a necessity. For some this is about a lack of understanding of the real world challenges facing rural Alaska – it’s a fight we have each and every year. We’re already making progress to keep this critical program in place and I believe we’ll have the support in Congress.”
"The Coastal Plain of ANWR is a key component of our nation’s energy policy and we should remain focused on efforts to safely explore, develop and produce oil and gas from the 10-02. In the House, we’ve done this on 12 separate occasions and I will continue working to unleash Alaska’s abundant energy potential for the betterment of our state and nation," said Young.
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), America’s largest taxpayer watchdog group, praised President Donald Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget. The proposal represents the most fiscally conservative vision that the United States has seen in a generation according to CAGW.
CAGW President Tom Schatz said in a statement: “President Trump should be commended for putting the interests of taxpayers at the center of the budget debate. It is refreshing to read a White House budget that balances within 10 years, eliminates or cuts dozens of wasteful programs, and outfits countless more with stringent new safeguards.”
Most notably, the president’s budget is the first such proposal from the White House in more than a decade that would balance within 10 years. To accomplish this worthy goal, the budget calls for the elimination of numerous programs that have been identified by Citizens Against Government Waste as wasteful for years in Prime Cuts and the Congressional Pig Book, substantially reduces spending on dozens more programs, and implements commonsense reforms to welfare programs that CAGW has long identified as having prodigious amounts of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.
Programs identified by CAGW as wasteful for years in Prime Cuts and the Congressional Pig Book, include the Denali Commission (Alaska), Appalachian Regional Commission, Corporation for National and Community Service, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Delta Regional Authority, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Legal Services Corporation, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. These programs have also been identified as wasteful by the Government Accountability Office and agency Inspectors General.
CAGW said the federal budget’s renewed focus on cutting the number of improper payments in half over the next 10 years is also a significant priority. In FY 2016, government-wide improper payments rose to $144.3 billion. The Earned Income Tax Credit had an improper payment rate of 24 percent in FY 2016, which is among the highest of any program in the federal government, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program does not even measure the amount of overpayments.
The Trump budget continues an aggressive campaign to roll back federal regulations, which will increase economic growth, save taxpayer dollars, and increase the flexibility of states and local communities to produce policies that work for them. To date, the Trump administration has generated potential annual savings of $1.2 billion by repealing what the administration called "destructive" Obama-era regulations.
The President's budget also includes increased spending for school choice and paid parental leave, making President Trump the first President of either party to propose a nationwide paid parental leave program for parents and adopted parents. That amounts to $20 billion in the course of the 10-year window.
The budget, submitted to the U.S. Congress Tuesday, also supports $27.8 billion in drug control efforts including prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. Specifically, it supports $1.3 billion in investments for Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act programs, 21st Century CURES Act programs, and other opioid-specific initiatives that seek to address the current epidemic.
The President’s budget calls for a larger investment in drug control policy than the annualized FY 17 continuing resolution level,” said Richard Baum, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy. “By funding critical public health and public safety efforts, this budget demonstrates the Trump Administration’s commitment to stopping drugs from entering the country and supporting treatment efforts to address the burgeoning opioid epidemic.”
The FY 2018 request includes:
“The President’s proposal clearly emphasizes a number of policy items and initiatives of national importance, including security, defense and balancing the budget," said Young. "However, this blueprint falls extremely short in a number of keys areas, including the elimination or cut to programs and priorities that have real impacts on Alaska and the nation as a whole – particularly rural communities. For Alaska, this includes numerous programs I have and will continue to support in Congress, including the Denali Commission, Essential Air Service, LIHEAP, water resources and infrastructure and so many others".
Young said, “While I agree we must make serious steps to deal with our nation’s staggering debt, we cannot solve these problems by simply cutting and shuffling around what I often call ‘old money.’ My argument has always been that you can’t cut your way to prosperity. You have to focus on jobs, employment, economic growth; things like new manufacturing, regulatory relief, the development of our resources and so on. My job is to do what’s right for Alaska and come together with my two Senators to lay out our priorities and fund the government. That’s exactly what we’re going to do as the appropriations process moves forward.”
The programs of Social Security retirement, Social Security Disability Insurance, and Medicare where workers have paid in are protected. Several programs that help low-income and disabled Americans would see cuts such as medicaid, food stamps (or SNAP), additional income for poor seniors, public assistance for needy families, and disabled adults and children, SSI. (Note: SSI is administered by the Social Secutiry Admin. However, SSI is benefits are not paid from the funds paid in by workers to Social Security retirement and Medicare).
“Ironically, President Trump’s proposed budget takes on risk by trying to play it safe with entitlement reform. Neither Social Security nor Medicare is sustainable in its current form. Maintaining the status quo on these programs is easy now, but it will soon be impossibl, " said Michael Hamilton, Research Fellow, Health Care Policy
“Reducing Medicaid spending is a viable approach to putting patients back in the driver’s seat of their health care decisions, as opposed to third-party interlopers blocking the path to innovative health care solutions for the country’s needy,” said Hamilton.
Reductions would result from the President's proposal to tighten eligibility requirements for benefits and encourage work. Mulvaney said in the press briefing, "If you're on food stamps and able-bodied, we need you to go to work."
“President Trump’s proposed budget is a mixed bag for budget hawks. The president should be applauded for ending the wealth transfer from the middle-income citizens of the United States to wealthy dictators in developing nations in the name of the Green Climate Fund. However, his decision to increase military spending, and thus this budget’s failure to actually reduce overall government spending, is disappointing, especially if Trump is serious about enacting ambitious tax reform,” said Isaac Orr, Research Fellow, Energy and Environment Policy, The Heartland Institute.
“We’ve long needed to get the country’s deficit and debt under control. This budget is a small start, but a start, nonetheless. Every member of the Senate and the House will have a pet project or program that he or she wants to protect from cuts. But let’s hope they will put the demands of the Constitution – as well as the people’s desire to limit the size of government and put the nation’s fiscal house in order – above the desires of the special interests served by pork-barrel, special-interest spending," said H. Sterling Burnette, Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy, The Heartland Institute, and Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News.
Burnette said, “Climate programs are a great place to start since they slow economic growth and have no measurable payoff. If it is not a core function of government, the government shouldn’t be funding it.”
Peter Ferrara, Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy. The Heartland Institute said, “President Trump’s budget proposes many long overdue budget cuts, adding up to trillions in gross reductions from the baseline over the next 10 years. Trump proposes to balance the budget in 10 years entirely with those spending reductions, and no tax increases. The proposed budget in fact incorporates tax reform by sharply reducing tax rates, as well as repealing and replacing Obamacare, which would cut taxes by about $1 trillion over 10 years.
“Those policies, plus the spending cuts and President Trump’s deregulation, are tremendously pro-growth – which makes the budget’s increased growth assumptions actually quite conservative and likely to be exceeded in practice, as a long overdue, booming recovery from the 2008 recession finally ensues, correcting a central Obama failure. The end result of that would be to sharply reduce the national debt as a percent of GDP, down to 60 percent by the projections of Trump’s Office of Management and Budget," said Ferrara.
The 66 programs eliminated in the President's budget are:
Agriculture Department — $855 million
Commerce Department — $633 million
Education Department — $4.976 billion
Energy Department — $398 million
Health and Human Services — $4.834 billion
Homeland Security — $235 million
Housing and Urban Development — $4.123 billion
Interior Department — $122 million
Justice Department — $210 million
Labor Department — $527 million
State Department and USAID — $4.256 billion
State Department, USAID, and Treasury Department — $1.59 billion
Transportation Department — $499 million
Treasury Department — $43 million
Environmental Protection Agency — $493 million
National Aeronautics and Space Administration — $269 million
Other Independent Agencies — $2.683 billion
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