The President's America First Budget Blueprint was issued today by OMB. The OMB spends one page with its own budget highlights, preceded by an introduction from the President. The 2018 full budget will be released later this spring and the Blueprint provides details only on the discretionary funding proposals. The OMB notes that the President has emphasized modernizing outdated infrastructure and has tapped a group of infrastructure experts to evaluate investment options and regulatory, administrative, organizational and policy changes. Those details are coming in the next months. In a nutshell, there is a $54 billion reduction in non-Defense programs.
In the President's introduction to the Blueprint, he sets forth his intent to craft a budget emphasizing national security and public safety and contextualizes the decisions made as being "tough choices" counterbalanced by "necessary investments." President Trump highlights the following items in his 2018 Budget Blueprint:
1. "[O]ne of the largest" increases in defense spending;
3. Resources for a wall on the southern border with Mexico, immigration judges, expanded detention capacity, amongst other related items;
4. Increased funding to address violent crime and reduce opioid abuse; and
5. Keeping more tax dollars here at home.
The five items above are being funded by the $54 billion reduction to non-Defense programs. The President intends to "do more with less and make the Government lean and accountable to the people."
The OMB gives a list of around 20 independent agencies that would be eliminated, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, the Northern Border Regional Commission, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. OMB also reminds us of President Trump's January 20th regulatory freeze.
Of particular interest to the affordable housing and community development industry is the 21 percent cut to USDA and the 13.2 percent cut to the HUD budget. The USDA budget cut includes reducing staffing to USDA's Service Center Agencies to streamline county office operations, reflect reduced RD workload and encourage private sector conservation planning. The HUD cut is in the context of "the President's commitment to fiscal responsibility while supporting critical functions that provide rental assistance to low-income and vulnerable households and help work-eligible families achieve self-sufficiency." OMB also highlights the "greater role for State and local governments and private sector to address community and economic development needs."