NEWS FROM WASHINGTONCongress is in recess this week in recognition of President’s Day. Administration Releases FY 2021 Budget Proposal
Last week, the Trump Administration released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget proposal
. Entitled “A Budget for America’s Future,” the budget would substantially cut funding for domestic programs, while increasing funding for defense. If adopted, the president’s budget would cut funding or eliminate programs important to regions, including workforce development, older Americans, emergency management, and energy and environment programs, community development, and the Economic Development Administration (EDA).
The good news? There is no chance that this budget proposal will become law. However, the president’s budget will frame all future budget and appropriations discussions.
The budget proposal has already stirred substantial criticism. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget wrote
that the budget relies on “inflated economic growth assumptions, unrealistic policy savings, and other gimmicks to paper over its failure to sufficiently reduce the nation’s structural deficits and counteract the more than $4 trillion of debt the President has signed into law.”
Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) wrote in The Hill
that the president’s budget is “a declaration of war on hardworking Americans, littered with misplaced priorities and callous cuts unsuccessfully pursued in past requests. At a time when many working families face challenges like stagnant wages and rising health care costs and struggle to get ahead under this administration, the president’s budget request would take our country in the wrong direction.”
But just as there have been significant criticisms of the president’s budget, there have also been those organizations and individuals who have praised it. The Heritage Foundation wrote
that “President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2021 would reduce the size and reach of the federal bureaucracy significantly by shifting government responsibilities back to constitutional priorities and empowering state and local governments. . . These reforms, contained in the request Trump sent Monday morning to Congress
, would put the budget on track to balance and represent a significant first step toward reducing spending and stabilizing the nation’s unsustainable debt.”
Perhaps the most significant budget cuts would be to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The president’s budget would cut Medicare by roughly $500 billion, Medicaid by $900 billion, and Social Security by $24 billion over the next ten years.
Cuts to social and human services programs are likely to have a major impact. The president’s budget proposed the following funding cuts:
- The Department of Energy by 8 percent;
- The Department of Health and Human Services by 10 percent;
- The Department of Labor by 11 percent;
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development by 15 percent;
- The Department of Commerce by nearly 50 percent; and
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 26 percent.
Funding for the Department of Homeland Security would be increased by 3.2 percent, most of which would go to immigration enforcement.
Specifically, the president’s budget would:
- Eliminate funding for the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships Program;
- Eliminate funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);
- Eliminate funding for 50 EPA programs including those that help fight pollution, radon, and lead as well as those that give clean water grants to small and disadvantaged communities;
- Reduce funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency by $535 million;
- Eliminate $500 million in funding for “duplicative and unproven job training programs;”
- Eliminate funding for several Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs including Native American programs, the Migrant and Seasonal Farm workers program and reduce funding to Youth Build and ex-offender activities;
- Eliminate funding for the EDA;
- Tighten Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP/Food Stamps) work requirements for individuals between the ages of 18-65, which the Department of Agriculture estimates will result in cuts of $36.6 billion over ten years;
- Cut or maintain at current levels funding for Older Americans Act (OAO) programs; and
- Keep funding for homeless programs at current levels.
Most of these cuts are likely to present significant problems for regions, counties, and cities. As the Administration puts increased pressure on cities to address homelessness, the lack of additional funds will put increased fiscal burdens on cities and counties for what is a national problem. The lack of resources to fight pollution, radon, and lead are likely to increase the number and types of environmental health problems that cities, counties, and regions can address. Further constraints on obtaining food stamps will mean that cities, counties and regions as well as charity organizations are likely to have to provide food to larger numbers of households and individuals.
It is worth mentioning again that there is little chance that any parts of the president’s proposal will be adopted. But as is always the case, the president’s budget provides a framework for the ongoing discussion over fiscal year 2021 appropriations and may represent the President’s “line in the sand” on funding for certain programs.
Over the next weeks and months as Congress works through the appropriations process, we will keep you informed of the proposals and what it means for our regions. NACo Testifies before House Subcommittee on America’s Recycling System
Montgomery County of Maryland Director of the Department of Environmental Protection Adam Ortiz testified on behalf of the National Association of Counties before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing
on improving community recycling programs. In his testimony
, Director Ortiz said that environmental stewardship is a primary function of local governments to ensure healthy, safe, and vibrant communities for residents. Ortiz highlighted the authority and responsibility of local governments to undertake solid waste management activities including operating waste facilities, recycling centers, landfills, transfer stations, and many more. To ensure a safe and clean environment for localities across the country meaningful engagement with intergovernmental partners is vital in the development and implementation of recycling standards, policies, programs, and regulations.