Trump team prepares dramatic cuts

According to a January 19 article by Alexander Bolton, staff writer for The Hill, Donald Trump is ready to take an ax to government spending.

But what the Trump team may refer to as a budget is really an ideological agenda not based on any mandate — 63 million people voted against him — that means suffering for the American people.

The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would also see significant cuts and program eliminations.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) would be privatized. (“Since 1968, CPB has been the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting and the largest single source of funding for public radio, television, and related online and mobile services. For approximately $1.35 per American per year, CPB provides essential operational support for the nearly 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations, which reach virtually every household in the country.”)

The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation. The National Endowment for the Humanities promotes excellence in the humanities and conveys the lessons of history to all Americans by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers. Both the NEA and the NEH would be eliminated entirely.

“The Trump Administration needs to reform and cut spending dramatically, and targeting waste like the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be a good first step in showing that the Trump Administration is serious about radically reforming the federal budget,” said Brian Darling, a former aide to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and a former staffer at the Heritage Foundation.

Overall, the Trump blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

The proposed cuts follow a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, the right-wing think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition.

Many of the specific cuts were included in the 2017 budget adopted by the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) that represents a majority of House Republicans. The RSC has always pushed for significant cuts in non-defense spending, spearheaded efforts to pass free trade agreements, advocated socially conservative legislation, and supported the right to keep and bear arms.

At the Department of Justice, the blueprint calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation “Americas Partner for Equal Justice,” and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions.
At the Department of Energy, it would eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy whose job is to build a strong, clean energy economy, a strategy that is aimed at reducing reliance on foreign oil, saving families and businesses money, creating middle-class jobs, and reducing pollution.

The blueprint would also scrap the Office of Fossil Energy, made up of some 1,000 scientists, engineers, technicians and administrative staff who focus on for Federal research, development, and demonstration efforts on advanced carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, as well as the development of technological solutions for the prudent and sustainable development of our unconventional oil and gas domestic resources.  It also manages the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve and Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, both key emergency response tools available to the President to protect Americans from energy supply disruptions.

Under the State Department’s jurisdiction, funding for Paris Climate Change Agreement and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are candidates for elimination.

It’s not clear whether Trump’s first budget will include cuts to Social Security or Medicare. Conservative House budgets have repeatedly included cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

Moderate Republicans and Democrats on the Appropriations Committee are likely to push back at some of the cuts being considered by Trump.

But the cuts seem likely to have the support of Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., Trump’s choice to head the Office of Management and Budget, a conservative budget hawk who backed the RSC budget.

Barbara Russum contributed to this article.