Federal budgets are policy statements about the direction our leaders wish to take our nation. President Trump’s FY2018 “Skinny Budget” proposals take our nation into a dangerous direction that, if enacted, would have a devastating impact on communities across the country and especially on our most vulnerable populations. Overall, due to the budget’s proposed massive increase in defense spending, non-defense programs would be cut in the coming year by approximately $54 billion. For example:
- Cuts programs for the Department of Labor by 21% below current funding levels, thus starving key workforce training programs for the unemployed and under-employed under the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) enacted into law in 2014.
- Completely eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program for poor and low-income older workers.
- Cuts all funding to 21st Century Community Learning Centers currently funded at $1.2 Billion.
- Cuts funding for college ready access programs like TRIO to $808 million and reduces funding for Gear UP from $322 million to $219 million.
- Reduces Federal Work Study.
- Requests $1 billion in federal Title I funding for school choice for low income students.
Housing and Community Development:
- Devastates housing programs for the poor by cutting $6.2 billion from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), severely impacting homelessness and deepening poverty.
- Included in the HUD cuts is the elimination of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), a critical program that funds programs that assist low-income people with housing issues, including the elimination of urban blight and other community programs.
- Also included in HUD cuts is the elimination of the HOME program that provides block grants to state and local governments to create affordable housing solutions for low-income households.
- By removing all funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), the proposed budget would severely undermine economic opportunity by ensuring that underserved communities have access to financial services.
- Eliminates the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) which has over 40 business centers across the United States that help large, growth-oriented minority businesses grow to scale. It is the smallest federal agency.
Health and Human Services:
- Unspecified cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Cuts National Institutes of Health (NIH) spending by $5.8 billion.
- Cuts programs in the Office of Community Services including Low Income Energy Assistance Program and the Community Service Block Grant.
- Cuts $403 million to health profession and nursing training programs.
- On the positive side, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration would receive $500 million to expand Opioid misuse prevention.
Access to Justice:
- Devastates access to legal services for the poor by eliminating the Legal Services Corporation.
- Cuts $1.1 billion or 3.8 percent from the Department of Justice.
- Places emphasis on national security, public safety, and supports for law enforcement.
- No mention of how it would treat the Civil Rights Division.