President Trump Releases Fiscal Year 2020 Budget | Now Compromise Required

On Monday, March 11, 2019, President Donald Trump released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020 which starts on October 1, 2019. The budget is not an actual piece of legislation, but instead serves as an overview of the Trump Administration’s policy positions, goals, and priorities. The House and the Senate will now prepare budget resolutions to help guide spending. After the discretionary spending levels are set with the budgets, 12 Appropriations Subcommittees in the House and Senate work to finalize their respective bills to set specific funding amounts for federal agencies and programs. What we know: there is a rocky road to compromise ahead.

With control of Congress split between Democrats and Republicans, it is unlikely that any of these budgetary proposals get passed exactly as they are written. A lot of compromise will be required in order to keep the government funded as of October 1. Areas where there could be compromise include funding to continue fighting the opioid epidemic, work to decrease drug prices, and the President’s $291 million proposal to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The budget gives the public a good overview of what the Trump Administration’s priorities are moving forward.

Top Budgetary Priorities for the Trump Administration:

  • Increased Military Spending – President Trump’s budget proposal calls for huge increase of $33 billon (5% more than FY 2019) for the Department of Defense. Among other things, the proposal requests funding for the creation of the United States Space Force (USSF), often talked about by President Trump.
  • Increased Border Security – The budget proposal calls for an additional $8.6 billion in funding to cover the building of a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border. Funds would also cover the hiring of over 2,800 federal law enforcement officers to work on immigration.
  • Modernizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – The budget requests $290 million for the IRS’s multiyear modernization efforts and $15 billion in additional funding to “expand and strengthen tax enforcement.” The Administration believes that this investment would yield an additional $47 billion in revenue.
  • Promoting Free and Fair Trade – $16 million is included to support President Trump’s trade agenda. The budget calls for the establishment of a new initiative within the International Trade Administration to “counter the circumvention or evasion of U.S. trade actions aimed at those who engage in unfair and illegal trade practices.”
  • Transportation Funding Safety – The budget includes money to improve highway safety, modernize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which would help people move throughout the country more efficiently and safely. On the other hand, the budget also includes cuts to Amtrak and other commuter rail programs.
  • Decreased Funding for Clean Energy Initiatives – The budget proposes a significant cut to the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE). The budget also increases funding for Department of the Interior programs that would develop energy on public lands and offshore waters. The Environmental Protection Agency faces a proposed 31% ($2.7 billion) budget cut.
  • Cuts to International Aid – The budget recommends a 23% ($12.3 billion) cut to the U.S. State Department, responsible for diplomacy and providing foreign aid.
  • Entitlement Programs Under Fire – The budget proposal calls for substantial cuts to both the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The budget would eliminate funding for the Medicaid expansion passed in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), something that 36 states and the District of Columbia have already implemented. The budget also calls for large cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) where low income Americans can receive food assistance.

Stay tuned as Interel US Government Relations and Public Affairs practice continues to provide updates on how best to advance interests as the appropriations process moves forward and House Democrats and Senate Republicans begin working to keep the government funded.

Written by Aidan Camas, Government Affairs Coordinator, Interel