President Donald Trump outlined a budget proposal Thursday that showed a big boost in military spending and major cuts in education, environmental, housing and social programs.

The Washington Post reports that “The Trump administration will slash more than $6 billion in funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and eliminate community development grants.

The budget proposal would eliminate funding for the Community Development Block Grant program, which supports a wide range of urban-renewal projects and received $3 billion in funding for 2017. The decades-old grant program has been used to fund such projects as the Lafitte Greenway in New Orleans and to support Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.”

Trump also proposes to eliminate money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the national endowments for arts and humanities and more than a dozen other independent agencies financed by the government.

The biggest winner in the budget proposal is the Pentagon. Trump proposes a 10 percent increase in the massive defense budget, adding $52 billion in military spending in one year to expand personnel, equipment and capability. Another $2 billion would go to nuclear weapons.

Homeland Security would get $2.8 billion more, a 6.8 percent increase. Most of the increase, $2.6 billion, would be to begin building a border wall. Trump has repeatedly said Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexican officials say that they won’t pay for the wall. Trump also wants an extra $1.5 billion for more immigration jails and deportations, and $314 million to hire 1,500 immigration enforcement and border patrol agents.

While there is more money for the military there is less money for agencies that drive the diplomatic efforts to prevent war. The budget for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development is down 31 percent, or $17 billion. Foreign aid would be reduced, as would money to the U.N. and to multilateral development banks including the World Bank.

Trump is slashing the Education Department’s overall budget by $9 billion, or 13 percent while spending $1.4 billion more to expand school choice programs.

The president’s budget plan would eliminate a $1.2 billion initiative that supports before- and after-school programs as well as summer programs.

The Environmental Protection Agency is facing a 31.4 percent cut, or $2.6 billion. The plan would cut 3,200 jobs at the agency, eliminate a new plan for tighter regulations on power plants, and “zero out” programs to clean up the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay.

Health and Human Services is facing a $12.6 billion cut, or 16.2 percent. The plan would cut $5.8 billion from the nearly $32 billion National Institutes of Health, the nation’s premier medical research agency. The budget plan specifically calls for elimination of a division that focuses on global health. The NIH’s budget hasn’t kept pace with inflation over the last decade, making it dramatically harder for scientists around the country to win money for research projects into potential new treatments or better understanding of disease.

More than 20 percent, or $2.5 billion, would be cut from the Labor Department. To be eliminated: a $434 million program that has helped more than 1 million people 55 and older find jobs, according to the department.

Trump proposes a cut of nearly 13 percent, or $2.4 billion in transportation. Amtrak, local transit agencies and rural communities that depend on federal subsidies to obtain scheduled airline service would take the brunt. Trump would eliminate subsidies for Amtrak long-distance train routes. Money for the Federal Transit Administration grant program for new light rail and subway construction would be eliminated except for multiyear projects the government has already committed to help fund.

Trump’s budget proposal massively cuts funding for education, environment, housing, health and human services, and transportation.

Budgets are a reflection of priorities and values.

Trump’s budget reflects a reduced commitment to helping the poor, educating children and improving the quality of the water we drink and the air we breathe. At the same time the budget calls for a massive increase in expanding the military even though the United States already spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined. Trump’s harsh budget proposal reflects misplaced priorities.

http://www.phillytrib.com/commentary/trump-s-harsh-budget-proposal/article_0378cd6e-a303-5d78-b1b9-366e80743f11.html

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