The Trump administration's full budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, released on May 23, is little changed from the initial budget outline released on March 16. Despite widespread concern from both political parties in Congress, government advisers, and the private sector, over the highly questionable items included in the "skinny budget," the administration has dug in on dismantling vital environmental, scientific, and social programs. "Although the administration frames their proposals as beneficial to taxpayers and job creation, these cuts would reduce the economy's long-term productivity and harm public health," said EESI Executive Director Carol Werner.
The budget reduces support across numerous sectors, including a 20 percent cut to programs at the Department of Agriculture. Despite President Trump's promise to work with Congress on an urgently needed infrastructure package, his budget eliminates programs such as the TIGER national infrastructure grants and significantly reduces other capital investment programs designed to improve regional transit options. Funding is also drastically shrunk for applied science and research & development programs at the Department of Energy, which would hinder job growth in the booming clean energy field and throw a wrench in the commercialization of advanced energy technologies. Finally, the budget features an outright assault on the federal government's capacity to protect clean air, land, and water by slashing the Environmental Protection Agency's funding by over 31 percent.
A sampling of the 66 federal programs marked for elimination include:
- USDA's Water & Wastewater Loan & Grant Program, which funds drinking water, sewage, and stormwater projects in rural areas
- DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E), which develops high-impact, cutting edge energy technologies
- DOE's Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program, responsible for providing loans to clean energy technology projects
- DOE's State Energy Program (SEP) and Weatherization Assistance Program, which provide essential services to low-income households
- EPA's Energy Star Program, responsible for improving appliance energy efficiency and widely respected by manufacturers and consumers alike
- EPA's Restoration Initiatives, which make vital investments to improve environmental quality across nine regions, including key watersheds like the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, and Chesapeake Bay
- DOI's Abandoned Mine Land Grants (AML), essential to the environmental remediation of lands scarred by intensive coal mining
- HHS' Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which assists vulnerable families in securing basic energy needs
- DHS' Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program, which helps identify flood risks in communities across the country and provides data for the National Flood Insurance Program
- Support for the Green Climate Fund and Global Climate Change Initiative, which support adaptation efforts in the developing world and advance global cooperation on climate change
- Five NASA earth science missions, essential to the continued study of the planet's rapidly changing climate
According to Carol Werner, "The direction in which the Trump administration's budget would take the country runs counter to the preferences of the American people. This budget would place the nation's most vulnerable individuals at risk of falling even further into poverty, threaten the public through cuts to healthcare and environmental protections, amplify the misery from future crises abroad by slashing foreign aid, and place the United States at a grave economic disadvantage by ignoring the global momentum toward clean energy and decarbonization. The long-term disruptions that would arise if the President's priorities were fully enacted would have a negative impact on everything from scientific advancement to national security."