On Thursday, the White House released President Trump’s proposal for the federal budget, a blueprint outlining his spending priorities for Congress and the country. It cuts the budgets of many domestic programs. But for 19 independent agencies, it goes a step further—and proposes eliminating their funding entirely.
The wish-list is dubbed “America First,” and Trump’s proposed route to making America great again will involve a substantial increase in defense spending, offset with deep cuts to agencies like the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.
It’s known as the “skinny budget,” and skinny it is, as Trump’s initial outline focuses only on discretionary spending, which makes up less than one-third of the federal budget. But Trump makes it clear that he wants to fatten one thing: the Department of Defense. He’ll increase the department’s budget by $54 billion, a move he says sends “a message of American strength, security, and resolve” to the world.
To do that, Trump plans to shrink the budget for the State Department and USAID by $10 billion, a 28 percent decrease from 2017. The budget also outlines a 31 percent cut in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, discontinuing all funds for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs and research, and for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay Program.
On page five of his blueprint Trump proposes the elimination of funding for 19 independent agencies—those that exist outside of federal departments headed by a Cabinet secretary. One of those agencies is the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership focused on economic development in a region encompassing all of West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Its inclusion is notable, because it serves a region that largely supported Trump, and which he has promised to revive economically.
Another is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, an agency created in 1967 to ensure universal access to television and radio programming. The CPB’s budget relies almost entirely on federal funds and it distributes most of its funding to locally owned public radio and television stations. Trump also proposed defunding the National Endowment for the Arts, an agency supporting projects in arts education, literature, music, and other disciplines.
Here’s the complete list of the independent agencies Trump wants to defund:
- African Development Foundation
- Appalachian Regional Commission
- Chemical Safety Board
- Corporation for National and Community Service
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting
- Delta Regional Authority
- Denali Commission
- Institute of Museum and Library Services
- Inter-American Foundation
- U.S. Trade and Development Agency
- Legal Services Corporation
- National Endowment for the Arts
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
- Northern Border Regional Commission
- Overseas Private Investment Corporation
- United States Institute of Peace
- United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
The administration’s full budget, which will include elements like mandatory spending, is expected to come out later this spring.