Thursday, March 16, 2017
Trump Budget Sharply Cuts CPB, The Arts
President Donald Trump will call for sharp cuts to spending on foreign aid, the arts, environmental protection and public broadcasting to pay for a bigger military and a more secure border in a fiscal 2018 budget blueprint set for release Thursday.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the budget proposal is certain to run into stiff opposition in Congress, where lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have already signaled they are unlikely to enact Mr. Trump’s deep cuts when they pass spending bills that actually fund the government.
The budget proposes hefty cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health and the State Department. It also seeks to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and other independent agencies long in the crosshairs of some conservative Republicans.
The CPB doles out government money to the nation’s 1,489 public radio and television stations, more than 70% of which comes in the form of grants. The CPB received $445 million this fiscal year, a fraction of the approximately $4 trillion federal budget.
Station operators are worried about a budget blueprint put forward by the Heritage Foundation, which advocated eliminating federal funding for the CPB on the grounds that it has outlived its purpose. The Heritage Foundation said in its report that the viewers and listeners the CPB was created to serve now have access to ample sources of news and information.
The cuts, if enacted, would mean some agencies would have to lay off federal workers, though the budget doesn’t always offer exact head counts. It does specify that cuts to the EPA “would result in approximately 3,200 fewer positions at the agency.”
“You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it,” said Mick Mulvaney, the president’s budget director. “I would expect there would have to be reductions of forces at various agencies.”
The budget proposal is the Trump administration’s first stab at translating some of the president’s campaign promises into hard numbers. It shows how little room Mr. Trump has to work with if he is going to fulfill his promises to hold the federal budget deficit at current levels while also cutting taxes and preserving entitlement spending.
On a background call with reporters Wednesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said defunding public television and public radio, including National Public Radio, will not be immediate because of the nature of government contracting.
"We proposed ending funding, but technically what you'll see—it's an elimination—but you'll see an amount of money in the budget, and it is some amount of money that's necessary for us to unwind our involvement with CPB," Mulvaney said during the briefing on the administration's budget blueprint. "So you won't see a zero next to it, but the policy is that we're ending federal involvement with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting."
Posted 7:20:00 AM