President's 2020 FY Budget: An NCSL Summary


President's Proposed Budget Reduces Overall Nondefense Spending, Increases Pentagon Funds, and Reaffirms Commitment to the Wall

Cover of president's FY 2020 budgetThe Office of Management and Budget released a portion of the president’s $4.7 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget request, which calls for a 9 percent reduction in discretionary spending for nondefense activities, but an increase of 5 percent, or $33.4 billion over FY 2019 levels for defense spending. The proposal imposes its own budget “caps” through the reductions—essentially abiding by restrictions of the 2011 Budget Control Act—but ultimately circumvents the limits through cap-exempt Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding increases. 

With the goal of achieving a balanced budget in 15 years, President Donald Trump requests $718 billion for the Pentagon, made up of  $553 billion in base dollars and $165 billion in OCO funding. The proposal also includes $8.6 billion for border wall funding, reduced Medicare spending of $850 billion from drug cost savings, and major reform of Medicaid expected to generate $241 billion in savings over 10 years. 

While the Departments of Commerce (DOC), Homeland Security (DHS), Treasury, and Veteran Affairs (VA) are slated for funding increases, those experiencing the most drastic reductions include the departments of Agriculture (USDA), Education (ED), Energy (DOE), Health and Human Services (HHS), State, Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The president’s budget is the first step in what is expected to be a protracted appropriations process.  The House and Senate have criticized his proposal arguing in favor of a deal raising caps for both defense and non-defense spending.  But with uncertainty surrounding those negotiations appropriators are poised to produce spending bills under their own top-line budget figures. The expiring debt ceiling must also be addressed as currently the Treasury is working under “extraordinary measures” to avoid default through FY 2019. 

As a result of the piecemeal budget rollout, agency-specific supplemental charts will not be released until next week. 

View the Federal Funds Information for States (FFIS) table that compares the president’s proposal to FY 2018-2019 funding levels for Major Discretionary and Mandatory Programs.

Following are select agency funding highlights:


  • Proposes $20.8 billion in discretionary funding, $3.6 billion below current levels. The reduction would affect many programs focusing on crop insurance and conversation.
  • As part of this reduction, the budget proposes to discontinue the Conservation Services Program, a program that encourages farmers to engage in long-term conservation practices. 
  • Funding for U.S Forest Service is reduced by $900 million to $5.1 billion, with funding for wildfire suppression declining from $1.5 billion to $1 billion. State and private forestry programs would be reduced from $337 million to $182 million. However, the proposal also calls for an increase of $20 million for hazardous fuels reduction to $450 million, and $9 million more for forest products program to $375 million.


  • Includes $16 million to support Trump’s trade agenda.
  • Establishes a new initiative within the International Trade Administration to “counter the circumvention or evasion of U.S. trade actions aimed at those who engage in unfair and illegal trade practices.”
  • Requests $12.2 billion for the department, a 9.3 percent increase from the 2019 estimate.


  • Supports the creation of a new branch of the armed forces, the U.S. Space Force, and a new combatant space command, the U.S. Space Command.
  • Increases funding for the U.S. Army to modernize existing forces and provides additional training for soldiers to meet readiness goals by 2022.
  • Increases compensation for servicemembers, which includes a payroll increase of 3.1 percent.
  • Requests $718 billion, which represents a 5 percent increase from the 2019 enacted level.


  • Requests $64 billion for the Department of Education, a $7.1 billion or 10 percent decrease compared to the 2019 enacted level.
  • Maintains level funding, $15.9 billion, for Title I and $13.2 billion for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • Proposes an Education Freedom Scholarships federal tax credit of up to $50 billion over 10 years for families of elementary and secondary students who voluntarily contribute to state-defined public or private education options. 
  • Requests $650 million to support public school choice, including $500 million for charter schools.
  • Provides approximately $700 million, an increase of $354 million compared to the 2019 budget, in school safety for the departments of Education, Justice and Health and Human Services, including $200 million for School Safety National Activities, aligned to the recommendations in the Federal Commission on School Safety Report.  Read the School Safety Fact Sheet.
  • Requests $200 million for the Teacher and School Leader Incentive grant program to improve teacher induction and recognize and reward teaching excellence, with emphasis on high-need subjects such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and computer science coding.
  • Proposes an expansion of the Pell Grant eligibility to include high-quality short-term training programs.
  • Eliminates 29 discretionary programs for an estimated cost savings of $6.7 billion.


  • Includes an 11 percent reduction to the Department of Energy (DOE) funding than the agency was appropriated for in FY 2019, to $31.7 billion from  $35.7 billion.
  • Proposes to eliminate DOE loan programs as well as the Advanced Research Programs Agency-Energy, a proposal that Congress rejected the past two years.
  • Includes a $1 billion reduction for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, to $696 million. Funding for the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, by contrast, would be increased under the president’s budget to $157 million, $37 million more than enacted levels.
  • Proposes $116 million to restart the licensing process for a permanent nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain and initiate an interim storage program, which Congress has rejected in past budgets.


  • Reduces funding for the Environmental Protection Agency to $6.1 billion, a 31 percent reduction from this year’s enacted funding.  
  • Significant reductions to the agency include:
    • The Water Infrastructure Financing and Innvation Act Program, which accelerates investment in our nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental levels—both programs help communities upgrade drinking water and sewer infrastructure, to $25 million from the $63 million it received last year.
    • Funding fr regional watershed programs—the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay program is reduced to just 10 percent of last year’s support to $30 million and $7.3 million, respectively, and would eliminate all other regional watershed programs including those in the Gulf of Mexico, Long Island Sound and San Francisco Bay.
    • Clean Water State Revlving Funds (SRF) would be reduced to $1.12 billion under the proposal, a reduction of 34 percent, and the Drinking Water SRF would see a budget of $863 million under the spending blueprint, a reduction of 26 percent from fiscal 2019 enacted,
  • Calls for $10 million for Multipurpose Grants that allow state and tribal partners to allocate funds to their highest priority environmental statutory responsibilities. However, it also calls for nearly $1 billion reduction in State and Tribal Assistance Grants from enacted levels, and a $.5 billion reduction in Categorical Grants overall.

Homeland Security

  • Establishes a Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Fund that would expand immigration detention capacity to 60,000, hire 15,000 DHS law enforcement officers, 600 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigration court prosecuting attorneys, 100 immigration judge teams, and 50 federal prosecutors at DOJ’s Offices of the U.S. Attorneys.
  • Requests an increase, from $7 billion in FY 2019 to $19.4 billion for FY 2020, for recovery efforts in areas recently affected by major disasters, including a $430 million all-hazards competitive grant program under the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • Proposes $51.7 billion in discretionary appropriations for DHS, a 7.8 percent or $3.7 billion increase from the 2019 budget.
  • Proposes $2.7 billion for 54,000 detention beds for apprehended immigrants held by ICE.
  • Requires mandatory, nationwide use of the E-Verify system.
  • Provides $7.8 billion, a proposed $100 million increase, to support Transportation Security Administration employees and improve airport security technology.
  • Proposes $1 billion for DHS’s cybersecurity efforts, meant to in part to increase DHS-led risk assessments of state and local electoral systems.
  • Proposes hiring at least 150 new cybersecurity staff.
  • Provides $2.3 billion, a decrease of $100 million from FY 2019 levels, for the U.S. Secret Service.

Health and Human Services

  • Provides $87.1 billion for HHS’s discretionary funding, a 12 percent decrease from FY 2019.
  • Proposes level funding to fight the opioid crisis through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, including for programs like the State Opioid Response Program, and grants focused on providing medication assisted treatment.
  • Requests $55 million in funding to the Federal Drug Administration for an initiative to address the opioid epidemic.
  • Proposes to set minimum standards for Drug Utilization Review programs, to provide oversight of opioid dispending for Medicaid enrollees.
  • Allows states the option of providing full Medicaid coverage for women diagnosed with a substance use disorder for up to a year postpartum.
  • Provides $70 million in new funds for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) within the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to increase direct health care and support services. It further prioritizes the reauthorization of the RWHAP and proposes $291 million for the president’s announced initiative to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.
  • Creates a one-time funding of $1 billion to support underserved populations and encouraging employers’ investments in childcare for working families.
  • Calls for, in partnership with Congress, to enact legislation to provide paid parental leave.
  • Proposes requirements to be implemented nationwide for able-bodied, working-age adults seeking employment, training for a job or doing community service enrolled in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Medicaid programs.,
  • Proposes $20.8 billion for USDA, a $3.6 billion or 15 percent decrease from the 2019 estimate of $24.4 billion.
  • Provides level funding at $5.8 billion for Women, Infants, and Children, a nutrition program providing low-income pregnant women and mothers with nutrition education and food vouchers.
  • Proposes $17.4 million reduction to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • Reintroduces America’s Harvest Box proposal where households receiving $90 per month or more in SNAP benefits, 81 percent of SNAP households would receive domestically sourced food in place of about half of their SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer benefits.

Housing and Urban Development

  • Recognizes that “state and local governments are better equipped to address local community and economic development needs.”
  • Requests $100 million for the Rental Assistance Demonstration program.
  • Requests $290 million to promote healthy and lead-safe homes, which represents a $60 million increase compared to the 2019 estimated level.
  • Requests $44.1 billion, a 16.4 percent decrease from the 2019 estimate.


  • Reduces funding for Department of the Interior to $12.5 billion, a $2 billion reduction from enacted levels.
  • Reduces funding for the National Park Service by $460 million to $2.7 billion while the Fish and Wildlife Service would see a $267 million decrease to $1.3 billion.
  • Reduces Bureau of Land Management funding by $146 million to $1.2 billion, and the Bureau of Reclamation would be reduced by $462 million to $1.1 billion.
  • Reduces the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to $130 million from $134 million.
  • Reduces the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to $121.7 million, less than half of the $255.5 million enacted in FY 2019 with much of the reduction coming from eliminating the $115 million Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Economic Development Pilot Program.
  • Increases the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management by $16 million to $137 million. The administration is expected to release its final five-year offshore drilling plan for 2019-2024 shortly, and expand federal waters open to energy exploration.


  • Includes $673 million for the Executive Office of Immigration Review.
  • Creates a new Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Fund to include expansion of detention beds to 60,000 and additional prosecuting attorneys and judges.
  • Proposes $754 million for re-entry programming (criminal justice reform), $85 million for Second Chance Act re-entry programs.
  • Includes $2.3 billion for the Drug Enforcement Administration to combat opioid and fentanyl enforcement efforts, including $330 million for opioid-related state and local assistance.
  • Requests $405 million, a $10 million decrease from FY 2019, for Byrne/JAG.
  • Requests level funding, $492 million, for Violence Against Women Act.
  • Includes $77 million, level funding, to support victims of human trafficking.


  • Proposes $160 million in expanding access to apprenticeships.
  • Proposes to double the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998.
  • Increases funding for the Employee Benefits Security Administration.
  • Provides Paid Family Leave for New Parents.
  • Allows states to establish paid parental leave programs.
  • Requests $10.9 billion, a 9.7 percent decrease from the 2019 enacted level.

Transportation and Army Corps of Engineers

  • Proposes a 22 percent reduction to discretionary DOT funds, including significant reductions to federal funding for transit.,
  • Budget simultaneously requests a $1 billion increase to $43 billion for the federal-aid highway matching the level authorized in the 2015 FAST Act, which is funded via the Highway Trust Fund.
  • Includes a 2020 Budget Fact Sheet calling on Congress to enact legislation that generates at least $1 trillion in infrastructure investment, backed by $200 billion in federal funding.
  • Proposes a 50 percent reduction in for Amtrak Northeast Corridor and a separate 53 percent reduction to its National Network, specifically noting that in its analysis that the budget "will mark the end of the government fully subsidizing operating losses on Amtrak's long-distance routes.
  • No funding is included for the Gateway project, which would replace the 100-year-old tunnels connecting New Jersey and New York that were badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
  • Proposes a 31 percent reduction to the Army Corps of Engineers while simultaneously increasing the role of state and local governments in taking on certain projects currently led by the Corps. This would be accomplished through a proposal of $150 million to be transferred to local authorities constructing projects on their own.
  • Proposes to shift funding for inland waterways trust fund to a per-vessel fee from the current fuel tax method.

 Veterans Affairs

  • Increases VA access to Urgent Care and expands caregivers’ programs,
  • Includes $329 million, a 4.2 percent increase to expand veterans’ access to memorial benefits,
  • A proposed $22 million would be for direct funding of the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.
  • Requests $93.1 billion, a 7.5 percent increase in funding compared to the 2019 enacted level.


This summary was compiled by NCSL's state-federal affairs staff in the Washington, D.C., office.

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