House Republicans have issued their budget proposal for FY2018, and it includes a $5 billion cut at non-defense agencies and a total of $1.3 trillion in reductions in domestic spending over the next 10 years. Further, by FY2027, non-defense agencies would face a collective cut of 18 percent from the current spending. However, defense spending would increase by $929 billion over the current caps during the next 10 years.
Below we look at some of the major reforms in the budget proposal.
Republicans found 92 duplicate anti-poverty programs throughout the VA, Energy, and Labor departments. Eliminating these would save $843 billion.
They projected close to $700 billion in savings from improper payments. A “special commission” will have the task of “finding ways to tangibly reduce” the payments made.
Veterans Affairs Workforce
Republicans think this budget would solve “mismanagement and lack of accountability” and said it has “suffered from a growing bureaucracy”. The proposal would direct the VA to trim middle management, cut management overall, streamline disciplinary and hiring processes, and modify performance metrics. It would also fully fund Trump’s request for a 6 percent spending increase in FY2018.
Department of Homeland Security Hiring
The lawmakers said their budget will enable Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to “recruit, train, and deploy agents necessary to increase our nation’s operational security”. Still, Trump has suggested hiring 15,500 new agents/officers and appropriators have proposed a down payment on that request in FY2018. They also issued the following statement, “Border wall funding is also included in this budget through various DHS construction accounts to not only construct new fencing and replace ineffective fencing and barriers but also to establish forward operating bases and surveillance technology along our southern border.”
Putting USPS on a Budget
The United States Postal Service is an independent, self-funded federal agency, so it’s considered “off budget”. This House budget proposal would bring the agency back on a budget for the first time since 1989. The inspector general said that, when on a budget, the USPS was “commonly caught up in deficit reduction squabbles, and took on obligations belonging to the Treasury.”
Cutting the Environmental Protection Agency
The budget continues to propose cuts to the EPA. This one would restrict “its unprecedented activity on regulatory policy” and eliminate the Office of Regulatory Policy and Management. It also seeks to cut overlapping climate change research conducted by both the EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The proposal assumes the privatization of government-controlled mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Refocusing the Energy Department
The lawmakers said the Energy Department should focus on three things; maintaining nuclear supply, environmental cleanup, and basic research into discovery science and energy security. The budget would also reduce funding for commercial research and development, slash spending on green energy programs, and eliminate the loan guarantee program.
Finally, this budget proposal would cut programs designed to assist business lawmakers identified as “corporate welfare”, move NOAA to the Interior Department, establish the Patent and trademark office as an independent agency, transfer the Census Bureau to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, and eliminate or consolidate 10 others.