President Trump’s proposed budget came under fire Thursday from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. The 2018 budget calls for an unprecedented $54 billion increase in military spending while slashing environmental, housing, diplomatic and educational programs. It also calls for a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency and the elimination of 3,200 jobs. If approved, the EPA’s budget would become the smallest it’s been in 40 years. On Thursday, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney called funding climate change programs a “waste of money.”
Mick Mulvaney: “Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward: We’re not spending money on that anymore; we consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that. So that is a specific tie to his—to his campaign.”
Trump’s proposed budget would also cut spending for the State Department and USAID by 28 percent, and slash billions of dollars in funding for the United Nations at a time when the U.N. says the world is facing its biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II. On Thursday, Human Rights Watch called on Trump to continue funding human rights programs worldwide.
Louis Charbonneau: “Many conflicts have their roots in human rights violations and abuses. And so, for the U.S. to pull back with funding could spark instability and lead to an increase in abuses. Congress has the opportunity to step in—and certainly they should step in—and make sure that the U.S. does not shy away from the commitments that it’s had to maintaining the international human rights system that has been in place since World War II, including the U.N.”
Trump’s budget also threatens numerous programs to help the poor in the United States, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps the poor pay for heat during the winter, and the Community Development Block Grant program, which partially funds, among other things, Meals on Wheels to feed the elderly, the poor, veterans and disabled people. We’ll have more on Trump’s proposed budget after headlines with Ralph Nader.