The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will have its budget cut the most of any federal agency if Congress goes along with President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.
The White House’s budget, released Tuesday, calls for a 31 percent cut to EPA’s 2018 budget. It gives the Department of State a 29 percent cut, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture would get more than a 20 percent cut.
The Labor Department would lose nearly 20 percent of its funding and the Department of Health and Human Services would be cut by 16 percent under Trump’s budget plan.
In total, Trump’s budget calls for cutting federal spending $3.6 trillion over the next decade, including $1.7 trillion in cuts to entitlement programs.
Now, Trump’s budget goes before Congress where it’s likely to undergo substantial changes. Democrats have pushed back against steep cuts to agencies and entitlements. Even some Republicans have pushed back against EPA cuts.
Trump is not expected to get all the cuts he is asking for, including at EPA. But Republicans could work with him to at least start trimming back the federal regulatory apparatus.
The Trump administration has pitched the request as one that puts “taxpayers first,” which Office of Budget and Management Director Mick Mulvaney stressed would make sure Americans get more bang for their buck.
“I can’t remember the last time we looked at a budget through the eyes of people who were paying for it,” Mulvaney told reporters Monday.
But entrenched interests can complicate budget cutting, even if it’s to better serve taxpayers.
Mulvaney’s plan for EPA included cutting $300 million from a Great Lakes restoration program. Republican governors have come out against that, pledging to work with the White House to preserve the funding.
“I think it makes sense for us to continue to make prudent investments in protecting and improving the Great Lakes,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in March after Trump’s “skinny” budget was released.
Conservative groups backed Trump’s budget plan, saying it’s a good start to shrinking the size and scope of government.
“Overall, this budget takes important strides toward cutting the federal government down to size,” Romina Boccia, a budget expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, wrote in The Daily Signal.
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