Analyzing the White House’s Budget Blueprint

The White House and OMB have released “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.”

This outline reiterates the current administration’s commitment to developing an infrastructure package and indicates that infrastructure will be part of the full budget released later this spring.

The budget blueprint seeks to eliminate a number of programs and sources of funding, including:

  • The National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts
  • The community development block grant program at HUD ($3 billion per year)
  • Funding for National Heritage Areas (“which are more appropriately funded locally”)
  • Treasury Department would eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) grants. CDFIs are used by local communities to finance historic preservation projects and to deploy new markets tax credits.

The blueprint likewise aims to shrink budgets across the board:

  • Overall 12% decrease for the Interior Department ($1.5 billion reduction)
  • Reduces funding for any new federal land acquisition
  • State Department dramatically cut by 28.7%. Educational and Cultural Exchange programs cut except for Fulbright.
  • Transportation cut by 12.7%: “Limits funding for the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Program (New Starts) to projects with existing full funding grant agreements only. Future investments in new transit projects would be funded by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects.” This program funds light rail, heavy rail, commuter rail, streetcar, and bus rapid transit projects.
  • EPA gets a dramatic cut (31.4%).
  • Small Business Administration gets 5% decrease; SBA outreach centers will be reorganized.
  • Army Corps of Engineers would get a 16.3% decrease in funding.

Other items of note include:

  • Interior Department: “Strengthens the Nation’s energy security by increasing funding for DOI programs that support environmentally responsible development of energy on public lands and offshore waters. Combined with administrative reforms already in progress, this would allow DOI to streamline permitting processes and provide industry with access to the energy resources America needs, while ensuring taxpayers receive a fair return from the development of these public resources.”
  • Tribes at DOI: “Supports tribal sovereignty and self-determination across Indian Country by focusing on core funding and services to support ongoing tribal government operations. The Budget reduces funding for more recent demonstration projects and initiatives that only serve a few Tribes.”
  • Increase investment in deferred maintenance in the National Parks
  • “Leverages taxpayer investment with public and private resources through wildlife conservation, historic preservation, and recreation grants. These voluntary programs encourage partnerships by providing matching funds that produce greater benefits to taxpayers for the Federal dollars invested.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists published a helpful blog post that explains the budget process and how these recommendations fit in.