Posted: 3:13 am ET
We recently posted about the Trump budget for FY2018 that will reportedly proposed funding cuts of up to 30% for the State Department (see With @StateDept Facing a 30% Funding Cut, 121 Generals Urge Congress to Fully Fund Diplomacy and Foreign Aid; @StateDept Budget Could Be Cut By As Much as 30% in Trump’s First Budget Proposal?; @StateDeptbudge Special Envoy Positions Could Be in Trump’s Chopping Block — Which Ones?). We understand that this number could actually be closer to 40%, which is simply bananas, by the way. It would be ‘must-see’ teevee if Secretary Tillerson appears before the House and Senate committees to justify the deep cuts in programs, foreign aid, diplomatic/consular posts, embassy security, staffing, training, or why we’re keeping just half the kitchen sink. Just a backgrounder, below is the budget request composition for FY2016:
Previous posts on FS funding:
On February 27, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney showed up at the WH Press Briefing to talk about President Trump’s budget. Before you are all up in arms, he said that what we’re talking about right now is “not a full-blown budget” which apparently will not come until May. So this “blueprint” does not include mandatory spending, entitlement reforms, tax policies, revenue projections, or the infrastructure plan and he called this a “topline number only.” Agencies are given 48 hours to respond to OMB (holy camarba!). Excerpt below from his talk at the James S. Brady Briefing Room:
As for what it is, these are the President’s policies, as reflected in topline discretionary spending. To that end, it is a true America-first budget. It will show the President is keeping his promises and doing exactly what he said he was going to do when he ran for office. It prioritizes rebuilding the military, including restoring our nuclear capabilities; protecting the nation and securing the border; enforcing the laws currently on the books; taking care of vets; and increasing school choice. And it does all of that without adding to the currently projected FY 2018 deficit.
The top line defense discretionary number is $603 billion. That’s a $54-billion increase — it’s one of the largest increases in history. It’s also the number that allows the President to keep his promise to undo the military sequester. The topline nondefense number will be $462 billion. That’s a $54-billion savings. It’s the largest-proposed reduction since the early years of the Reagan administration.
The reductions in nondefense spending follow the same model — it’s the President keeping his promises and doing exactly what he said he was going to do. It reduces money that we give to other nations, it reduces duplicative programs, and it eliminates programs that simply don’t work.
The bottom line is this: The President is going to protect the country and do so in exactly the same way that every American family has had to do over the last couple years, and that’s prioritize spending.
The schedule from here — these numbers will go out to the agencies today in a process that we describe as passback. Review from agencies are due back to OMB over the course of the next couple days, and we’ll spend the next week or so working on a final budget blueprint. We expect to have that number to Congress by March 16th. That puts us on schedule for a full budget — including all the things I mentioned, this one does not include — with all the larger policy issues in the first part of May.
Q But we’re not talking about 2 or 3 percent — we’re talking about double-digit reductions, and that’s a lot.
DIRECTOR MULVANEY: There’s going to be a lot of programs that — again, you can expect to see exactly what the President said he was going to do. Foreign aid, for example — the President said we’re going to spend less money overseas and spend more of it here. That’s going to be reflected in the number we send to the State Department.
Q Thank you very much. One quick follow on foreign aid. That accounts for less than 1 percent of overall spending. And I just spoke with an analyst who said even if you zero that out, it wouldn’t pay for one year of the budget increases that are being proposed right now. So how do you square that amount? So why not tackle entitlements, which are the biggest driver, especially when a lot of Republicans over the years have said that they need to be taxed?
DIRECTOR MULVANEY: Sure. On your foreign aid, it’s the same answer I just gave, which is, yes, it’s a fairly part of the discretionary budget, but it’s still consistent with what the President said. When you see these reductions, you’ll be able to tie it back to a speech the President gave or something the President has said previously. He’s simply going to — we are taking his words and turning them into policies and dollars. So we will be spending less overseas and spending more back home.
See three separate threads on Twitter with some discussion of the proposed cuts.