It’s budget day, and, well, oy vey. President Trump unveiled his “Budget for a Better America” Monday — and it’s giving everyone a serious case of déjà vu.
To the surprise of no one, Trump’s proposed budget would take an ax to many domestic programs — $650 million in programs and activities compared to current funding levels — including several environmental and energy-related activities. The total cost of programs that would be slashed is in the billions, but much of it is countered by a major boost to national security spending.
After Congress told Trump he couldn’t have for $5.7 billion to build his wall, he’s gone and asked for $8.6 billion for a barricade on the U.S.-Mexico border. (The art of the deal, folks!)
Here’s just some of what’s outlined in Trump’s proposal:
- A 31 percent reduction in spending at the Environmental Protection Agency. Slashing the agency’s budget keeps his promises on the campaign trail to cut back on enforcement actions that hurt the bottom line of the fossil fuel industry.
- The Department of Energy would see an 11 percent decrease from current funding, to $31.7 billion. That smaller budget would mean cuts to the DOE’s well-known innovation arm, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, which is instrumental in developing world-class energy technology needed to help curb climate change.
- The Interior Department — now under the helm of newly-minted director (and oil lobbyist) David Bernhardt — would see a 14 percent cut, to $12.5 billion.
- A repeal of the tax credit for electric vehicles
- Selling off the Washington Aqueduct, which provides water to the metro D.C. area.
- Privatizing federally owned transmission lines
On the plus side, lawmakers have declined to enact most of Trump’s previous funding requests. Now that Democrats are in the majority in the House, it’s even more likely this budget is going nowhere.
“This budget is the Republican approach to governing in a nutshell: Cut taxes for the super-rich and then, when it’s time to fund national priorities, lecture us about tightening our belts,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona, in a statement. “If you think environment conservation is an unaffordable luxury, you’ll love this plan. This isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, it’s dead on arrival in Congress, and printing it was a waste of time.”