EPA, State Department prepare for cuts under Trump’s budget

President Trump’s budget plan for fiscal 2018 increases defense spending and cuts funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department, Reuters reported, citing a congressional source.

Trump’s first budget- which is set to be released on Thursday at 7 a.m. ET- will reportedly cut 28 percent out of the State Department’s funding and about 31 percent from the EPA, which The New York Times reported is arguably the hardest hit.

Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, who at times has spoken out against the agency, reportedly asked the White House for about $7 billion in funding, but was denied. The White house reportedly cut the funding futher to $5.7 billion.

The saved money is expected to cover an anticipated $54 billion increase in Defense Department spending and a small increase to homeland security.

Although Republicans control both the House and the Senate, Trump’s “skinny budget” is likely to face political hurdles. Last month, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called Trump’s original plan to cut the State Department’s budget by 37 percent “dead on arrival.” Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has also criticized the cuts to the State Department. 

Roughly $1 trillion of Trump’s overall estimated $4 trillion annual federal budget goes to Cabinet agencies and departments.

The specific details of the programs or jobs that are on the chopping block are not released until well after the initial budget is submitted. The House appropriations subcommittees reviewed Trump’s plan late Wednesday.

The Times reported that members said there is to be cuts to decades-old food programs for poor countries and the complete elimination of the Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service program, which reportedly subsidizes flight to rural airports in the country.

The Times reported that the cuts are expected to affect Amtrak and public education. The plan will reportedly phase out federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, told Fox News that the budget was written using Trump’s “own words” during the campaign. He said the plan does not balance the budget, but it also does not add to the deficit. Mulvaney said the budget will include $1.5 billion for the border wall, as a starting point.

A former OMB official told Reuters that the Trump administration is really “cutting into bone.” Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told Reuters that Trump’s budget is unusually skinny, possibly “emaciated.”