DemDaily: Dead On Arrival

March 16, 2017

The Trump Administration released its 2018 federal budget plan, outlining a total $54 billion in cuts to federal spending - to offset the 10% increase in spending for Department of Defense and other US military operations.

Titled "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again," the proposal slashes programs ranging from foreign aid, to environmental protection, to domestic poverty relief.

The Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of State, Agriculture and Labor are among those hardest hit. In total, ten federal departments will see double-digit percentage cuts to their operating budgets.

Breakdown of Cuts per Department

Source: Washington Post

"Foreign Aid is not charity. We must make sure it is well spent, but it is less than 1% of budget & critical to our national security." - Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

The Budget Approval Process
The president's plan faces a length approval process which obstacles at every stage.

  • The President submits a budget request to Congress
  • The House and Senate Committees on the Budget each write their budget resolutions. A budget resolution is a non-binding resolution that serves as a framework for budget decisions. It sets overall spending limits but does not decide funding for specific programs.
  • House and Senate Appropriations Committees "markup" Bills. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees determine the levels of budget authority for all discretionary programs.
    • 12 Subcommittees on areas of government (click for Full List) first make recommends to the full Committees - based on consultation with each agency and spending limits set in the budget resolution.
    • The full Committees review and send to the full House or Senate.
  • The full House and Senate vote and pass their versions of the appropriations bills.
  • The two versions then go to a Conference Committee to resolve differences between the final House and Senate bills, and produce one identical bill for both chambers.
  • The House and Senate then each vote on the final appropriations bill and, if passed by both,
  • It goes to the President for signing into law.

The widespread speculation among both parties is that the budget in its current form will not pass, particularly with cuts like the proposed 29% to the State Department, which is expected to gut foreign aid programs.

"It's dead on arrival - It's not going to happen. It would be a disaster." -- Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Coming Soon: DemList's breakdown on the programs to be cut.

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Kimberly Scott
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