President Trump is planning a 10% spending cut and a 20% cut in federal staffing. The GOP is not very interested in cuts.
His first day in office, the president called a halt to hiring federal workers and a freeze on pay raises. Top advisor Kellyanne Conway said over the weekend that Trump plans to convert the giant, out-of-control Medicaid program into block grants.
Republican governors — who couldn’t resist the free federal money for a few years in exchange for a permanent Medicaid expansion as part of Obamacare — will fight the block grants because they would have to find the funding themselves.
Democrats automatically vote against all cuts to spending unless it’s for the military but Trump will also have to fight the Republicans.
Top Republicans are warning him against any and all spending cuts. No wonder they didn’t fight Obama’s budgets with any fervor.
Trump is planning to cut discretionary spending but the GOP-controlled Congress, especially the Senate, are getting ready to fight him on many of the cuts, according to the hill.
Trump transition officials are looking at eliminating the International Trade Administration, the Economic Development Administration, the Minority Business Development Agency and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
The GOP is looking to fight for even the most wasteful programs at the same time Trump plans to build a wall, initiate an infrastructure plan, and build up the military. Something has to give.
The Trump Administration Looks to Cut Specific Programs
President Trump and his team are combing through conservative budgets to find ways to get rid of “tremendous waste, fraud and abuse” that Trump pledged to eliminate during the campaign.
He is looking to bring the axe down on the National Endowment for the Arts and for the Humanities; Legal Services Corporation; air service; and USDA Catfish Inspection Program.
Conservatives will support big cuts to federal funding but many in the GOP, especially the Senate are preparing for battle.
This is the party of limited government, lower taxes, reduced spending and balanced budgets.
The administration is working with the Office of Management and Budget and is following proposals made by the Heritage Foundation in its “Blueprint for Balance: a federal budget for 2017.”
Funding Big Bird
The Republican Study Committee report closely resembles the Heritage proposals and represents a majority of House Republicans. Trump’s incoming budget director, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), is an RSC member.
Following their recommendations, Trump would like to defund the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
“A free society should not have government-supported media outlets, especially ones that so often convey political news and opinion,” the RSC report said. “There is no shortage of media outlets and news services available to consumers,” the report said.
“The federal government should not be in the business of funding the arts,” the RSC said of eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
When Mitt Romney suggested it during the 2012 campaign, he was accused of killing Big Bird because the money funds programs like Sesame Street.
Leftist Legal Services for the Poor
One of the targets is the left-wing Legal Services Corporation that provides financial support for civil legal aid to low-income people. It’s unfortunately tied to liberal causes, often far-left causes. The CBO has recommended defunding it to save $400 million next year.
But Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) said it would never get through the Senate. President Reagan tried to abolish it but Congress blocked it. It’s the only way the poor get help.
Funding Air Service
Elimination of the essential air service program subsidizing rural airports serving sparsely populated communities is on the chopping block. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she would pull out all the stops to fight for it because of the support it provides for rural Alaska.
Duplicate Inspections of Catfish
Mississippi Republicans will oppose proposals to eliminate the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) catfish inspection program.
Catfish are already inspected by the FDA. This secondary inspection applies new regulatory requirements.
But Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) says doing away with the program “would be a problem and wouldn’t save any money.”
The GOP-controlled Congress is opposed to cutting discretionary spending. It’s “only” one-third of the budget and Congress says it’s under control.
Republicans want to cut Medicare and Social Security. Trump has vowed to not touch it.
Some are looking for cuts to meet Trump’s demands. For one, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said he would look carefully at programs that have been criticized as corporate welfare.
Many others are girding for battle, setting up internal fights over spending.
Other presidents have tried to cut these programs and failed.