Thank goodness that U.S. presidents rarely get their way with the federal budget. Not even when their party controls Congress.
President Donald Trump’s first draft is a travesty. Especially if you are poor, a senior or even the mayor of a city such as Fresno.
What does the president propose to do?
His plan would rob from the poor, the pollution-wracked and the peaceful to boost military spending.
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Out would go great chunks of funding for humanitarian aid, refugee assistance and the United Nations.
Gone would be critical support for affordable housing, public transportation, science, arts, schools and Superfund site cleanup.
In would come fighter jets, deportation raids, Border Patrol hiring sprees and that inane wall on the Mexican border.
What’s more, the budget fails to back up the president’s big talk on the campaign trail of reducing the federal deficit and investing in infrastructure. The $20 trillion national debt would remain unscathed, and $54 billion in cuts would be offset, not with bridges and roads, but with needless national security paraphernalia.
For California, other than a possible defense-industry windfall, Trump’s “America first” budget would be disastrous. And nowhere would the pain be felt more than in our state’s inland areas, where large numbers of people live below the poverty line.
His proposal to cut 31 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget would kill federal efforts to restore the San Francisco Bay and to make the air breathable for residents in the San Joaquin Valley.
His plan to eliminate thousands of Section 8 housing vouchers would undercut the initiative to address homelessness and throw people now living in apartments into the streets.
Fifty million dollars in reimbursement to California jails for incarcerating undocumented felons would disappear. So would more than $4 million in grants in our state for community policing.
Tuition assistance, after-school programs and legal aid that helps veterans find housing and helps protect seniors from scammers would evaporate.
Trump also wants to slash Title X contraception services that prevented more than 230,000 unintended pregnancies in California last year.
Programs that support farmers will do OK by the president despite the 21.4% cut to the Department of Agriculture. But the $4.7 billion funding cut for that department would fall on the back of the U.S. Forest Service. It would also result in the end of loan and grant programs for water and sewage systems.
Last we checked, water and sewer systems were considered infrastructure. Maybe someone in the Trump circle should explain that to the president.
Trump also wants to reduce job-training programs, including those targeting seniors, young people and the unemployed. He proposes this even though the key to getting a job is having the skills an employer needs.
Fortunately, Congress holds the federal purse strings, and many of the conservative perennials in Trump’s $1.15 trillion outline have been floated before, and rejected.
Plus, congressional Republicans have witnessed the backlash to their assault on the Affordable Care Act. Trump’s budget features even more – forgive us – carnage. Our hope is fellow Republicans won’t have the stomach for that.