Capitol to Capitol is NCSL's state-federal newsletter.
President Donald Trump’s released his first full budget proposal of his presidency on May 23, 2017. The plan, A New Foundation for American Greatness, lays out his proposals for fiscal year 2018 and the following decade. FY 2018 weighs in at $4.1 trillion. Over 10 years, the budget proposes about $3.6 trillion of deficit reduction, including $1.5 trillion from largely unspecified discretionary cuts, $2.8 trillion in net mandatory cuts (a figure that presumes repeal of the Affordable Care Act), and $300 billion in interest savings.
More than 20 towns claim to be the Memorial Day holiday’s “birthplace”—but only one has federal recognition.
Boalsburg, Penn., bases its claim on an 1864 gathering of women to mourn those recently killed at Gettysburg. In Carbondale, Ill., they’re certain that they were first, thanks to an 1866 parade led, in part, by John Logan who two years later would lead the charge for an official holiday. There are even two dueling Columbus challengers (one in Mississippi, the other in Georgia) who have battled it out for Memorial Day supremacy for decades.
Only one town, however, has received the official seal of approval from the U.S. government. In 1966, 100 years after the town of Waterloo, N.Y., shuttered its businesses and took to the streets for the first of many continuous, community wide celebrations, President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation, recently passed by the U.S. Congress, declaring the tiny upstate village the “official” birthplace of Memorial Day.
Through a mix of growth projections, which most economists believe are overly optimistic, combined with the assumption that a tax reform plan will manage to reduce tax rates while remaining revenue-neutral, the president’s budget sets a fiscal goal of balancing by 2027 and lowering the debt burden to 60 percent of gross domestic product. In regards to the rosy budget forecast, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget stated that “Exaggerated growth assumptions in presidential budgets are an age-old tradition, but this budget takes it to new levels, assuming we reach 3 percent growth, a full percentage point above what the Congressional Budget Office forecasts.”
As a president’s budget is essentially D.O.A. in Congress, the document is largely a signal of policy priorities and sets the tone of the president’s agenda. In this regard, the budget demonstrates policy priorities that the president made clear on the campaign trail, by 1) increasing defense spending, 2) preserving Social Security and Medicare funding, 3) providing funds for a wall along the southern border, 4) reforming the tax code, and 5) repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The ambitious fiscal proposal now heads to a severely divided Congress, which has just over four months to come to an agreement before FY 2018 begins on Oct. 1. The document below outlines key state programs that were changed in the proposed budget.
A PDF version of the current NCSL policies on budgets and revenue can be found here.
Department of Agriculture: $137 billion (-11.9%)
Decreases overall funding of the department by $16.4 billion, or 11.9 percent, including a 21 percent decrease in discretionary funding, compared to the 2017 enacted level. Reduces rural development funds by 26 percent and eliminates funding for the local food promotion program that was created as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. Caps subsidies to crop insurance premiums, which would save $16.2 billion over 10 years.
The budget proposes a suite of legislative proposals aimed at targeting SNAP benefits to the neediest households, and encouraging work among able-bodied adults without dependents. The budget proposes establishing a state match for benefit costs, phasing in from a national average of 10 percent in 2020 to 25 percent, on average by 2023. Combined, this would generate nearly $191 billion in savings over 10 years.
Department of Commerce: $7.8 billion (-16%)
Decreases funding of the department by $1.4 billion, or 16 percent, compared to the 2017 enacted level. The budget prioritizes enforcement and compliance of our existing trade laws, creating 29 new positions at the International Trade Administration.
Department of Defense: $639 billion (+9%)
Increases funding for the department by $52 billion, or 9 percent, compared to the 2017 spending.
The budget’s proposed $1.4 trillion reduction of nondefense discretionary spending over 10 years was partially offset by a sizable increase in defense discretionary spending. The largest increase in spending is due to the repeal of the defense sequester and by raising the cap on defense spending, which will increase defense spending by roughly $470 billion over 10 years. The budget increases spending for military construction spending across the Department of Defense by 25 percent, rising from $7.8 billion in the current year to $9.8 billion next year.
Department of Education: $59 billion (-13.5%)
Decreases funding of the department by $9.2 billion, or 13.5 percent, compared to the 2017 enacted level.
Department of Energy: $28 Billion (-6%)
Decreases funding of the department by $1.7 billion, or 6 percent, compared to the 2017 enacted level.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): $5.7 Billion (-31.4%)
Decreases funding of the agency by $2.5 billion, or 31.4 percent, compared to the 2017 enacted level.
Department of Interior: $11.7 Billion (-10.9%)
Decreases funding of the department by $1.5 billion, or 10.9 percent, over the 2017 enacted level.
Department of Health and Human Services: $69 Billion (-18%)
Decreases funding of the department by $15 billion, or 18 percent, compared to the 2017 enacted level.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Food and Nutrition
Provides $6.2 billion, or a $200 million reduction, to serve all projected participants in WIC.
The budget proposes establishment of an application fee for retailers seeking authorization to accept and redeem the electronic benefits provided by the SNAP, formerly Food Stamps. This proposal is estimated to generate approximately $2.4 billion in revenue over 10 years to offset SNAP expenses.
Program Elimination in HHS
Eliminates funding for the LIHEAP program in FY 2018.
Discontinues funding for the Community Services Block Grant and the Community Economic Development, Rural Community Facilities, and Assets for Independence Programs.
Eliminates funding for the Social Services Block Grant. In FY 2018.
Department of Homeland Security: $44.1 Billion (+7%)
Increases funding of the department by $2.8 billion, or 7 percent, over the 2017 enacted level.
Department of Justice: $27.7 Billion (-4%)
Decreases funding for the department by $1.1 billion, or 4 percent, compared to the 2017 enacted level.
State and local law enforcement funding:
There are also provisions in the budget proposal that seek to expand the definition of sanctuary jurisdictions and require states and localities to comply with Department of Homeland Security detainers that are currently not in statute.
Department of Labor: $9.6 Billion (-21%)
The FY 2018 request of $9.7 billion for the department is a 21 percent reduction from 2017.
Unemployment Insurance/Paid Parental Leave
Establishes a paid parental leave benefit within the unemployment insurance (UI) program to provide six weeks of paid family leave to new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents, at a cost of $18.5 billion over 10 years.
Invests $89.8 million in apprenticeships, an evidence-based approach to job training in efforts to close the skills gap.
Senior Community Service Employment Program
Eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program, a program created to transition seniors into unsubsidized employment, for a savings of $433.5 million.
Department of Housing and Urban Development: $40.68 billion (-13%)
Reduces funding of the department by 13 percent. The proposed reductions would be implemented primarily through rental assistance reforms and eliminating funding for programs.
Department of Veterans Affairs: $78.9 billion (+6%)
Increases funding of the department by $4.4 billion, or 5.8 percent, over the 2017 enacted level.
Adds $4.4 billion in new funding to expand health services and modernize VA's benefit claims system and other services.
Department of Transportation (DOT): $16.2 billion (-13%)
Decreases funding of the department by $3.1 billion, or 13 percent, compared to the 2017 enacted level.
On Jan. 8, 1835, all the big political names in Washington gathered to celebrate what President Andrew Jackson had just accomplished. A senator rose to make the big announcement: "Gentlemen ... the national debt ... is PAID."
That was the one time in U.S. history when the country was debt free. It lasted exactly one year.
One noteworthy item included in the budget is a proposal to spend an additional $200 billion over nine years on “infrastructure.” The proposal includes $5 billion in funding in FY 2018, which would increase to $25 billion in 2019, $40 billion in 2020 and $50 billion in 2021 before declining back down to zero by FY 2027. However, the budget does not provide specifics as to how such funds would be appropriated—existing funding mechanisms or something new.
Budget’s fact sheet on the administration’s infrastructure initiative. The document described the administration’s belief that the current system of federal funding is not working. Although it does not define infrastructure, the document mentions infrastructure systems covering transportation, drinking water and wastewater, energy, veterans affairs and inland waterways.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: $5 billion (-16%)
Decreases funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by $1 billion, or 16 percent, compared to the 2017 enacted level. use.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) graphic below shows the federal government’s revenues and spending in 2016.
Read the May 22, 2017, Capitol-to-Capitol.
If you have comments or suggestions regarding Capitol-to-Capitol, please contact Max Behlke.
NCSL's Washington staff advocate Congress, the White House, and federal agencies on behalf of state legislatures in accord with the policy directives and resolutions that are recommended by the NCSL Standing Committees and adopted by the full conference at the annual NCSL Legislative Summit Business Meeting. As a result of the advocacy that is guided by these policies positions, NCSL is recognized as a formidable lobbying force in state-federal relations.