President Trump’s first budget proposal will cut funding for the State Department, the EPA, and several popular programs including Food for Peace and Meals on Wheels. The latter program makes use of funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to offer thousands of U.S. seniors food every day.
Trump to End 5-Decades-Old Program
Around 5,000 U.S. groups are enrolled in the program which helps feed thousands of people who are not able to prepare or buy food by themselves. The federal funding for the program first started pouring in 1965 when LBJ signed into law the Older American Act.
The total annual cost of the program, which includes other projects, is $3 billion per year, but the Meals on Wheels taken separately costs the U.S. government just $3 million per year, which is the equivalent of a single presidential visit to Mar-a-Lago estate.
Trump’s so-called “skinny budget” will see funding from another popular program – Food for Peace – dramatically reduced. Under this program, the State Department gives famished communities across the world much-needed food supplies. The effort focuses on those parts of the planet devastated by war, drought, or famine. It was first rolled out in 1954, and it has given nutrition to more than 3 billion people.
The total funding of the program is $2 billion dollars, which is a lot less than the annual fossil fuel subsidies. What’s more, the figure is incomparably smaller than the $54 billion the Trump administration wants to direct to the military.
Trump’s Skinny Budget to Feature Other Cuts
Trump will unveil his first proposed budget Thursday at 7 am. The draft was dubbed “skinny budget” because it was created by the administration in their first days in office and it is merely a broad outline of the final budget. A second, more comprehensive proposal will be released in the next few months. That draft will include Trump’s long-awaited tax reform and funding for entitlement programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. The new budget will go into effect on the first day of October.
Experts expect military spending to skyrocket to $54 billion, as promised, while other areas will see large cuts. The president’s chief strategist Steve Bannon said those cuts would help “dismantle the administrative state”.
HUD and public education are the first on the list of departments to be sacrificed. People briefed on the matter said that the HUD program dubbed the Community Development Block Grant will be eliminated. The $3-billion program includes Meals on Wheels, affordable housing, and other community assistance programs. Trump administration also wants to see the Department of Transportation’s Amtrak railway project gone along with the program which grants subsidies for flights to rural locations.
However, the hardest hit would be the EPA and the State Department. The two agencies will face spending cuts of 31 percent and 28 to 31 percent respectively. The EPA is currently led by Scott Pruitt who challenged the agency’s clean air and climate change policies during his six years as state attorney general. After the cuts, the EPA’s budget will sing to $5.7 billion which is the lowest level in four decades.
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