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A look at what Trump proposed cutting in his 2019 budget

The president’s FY19 Budget is on display after arriving on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)
Washington Post

On Feb. 12, the Trump administration released its 2019 budget proposal for changes to make to the federal government’s spending. Many of the cuts in the plan are unlikely to become reality: Congress just increased spending limits last week, and it rarely dares to change entitlement programs.

But the budget is an important signal of the administration’s priorities. After many years promoted as Republican orthodoxy, eliminating the federal budget deficit is not an element of this budget. To pay for additional defense spending, the border wall and an infrastructure plan, funding would be cut from many executive departments and agencies, including big cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department.

Below are descriptions of the administration’s budget proposals for most major federal agencies. While mandatory spending programs like Medicare and food stamps are discussed, the budget number does not include these programs.


Agriculture Department

The Trump administration is seeking to cut the Department of Agriculture’s discretionary budget by $3.5 billion, or 15 percent, while also slashing by $17 billion the funds available to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). The budget would also reduce federal crop insurance subsidies and cut spending for conservation programs and foreign food aid.

Key proposed changes:

—Reduces funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $17.2 billion in 2019 and $213.5 billion over the next 10 years.

—Limits eligibility in the crop insurance program and caps premium subsidies.

—Cuts the $136 million in funding for conservation programs.

—Eliminates the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program.

—Discontinues the $166 million Food for Progress aid program.


Commerce Department

The Commerce Department can look forward to a 6 percent increase in budget authority under the president’s request. More money would be available for planning and staffing for the 2020 census as well as trade enforcement efforts by the International Trade Administration. The new budget also includes $878 million to continue operating the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s polar weather satellites and continue development of follow-on spacecraft, thus “reducing the risk of a devastating gap in coverage.”

Key proposed changes:

—Saves $300 million by eliminating the Economic Development Administration, which the administration says duplicates programs at the departments of agriculture and transportation.

—Saves $125 million by erasing the federal contribution to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, which funds state consulting services for small- and medium-sized companies.

—Boosts spending on preparations for the 2020 census to $3.8 billion, a $2.3 billion increase.

—Adds a modest $3 million to trade enforcement efforts.


Defense Department

The Pentagon’s 2019 budget is a 14 percent increase over 2017 and seeks to refit the military for potential conflicts against major powers, such as China and Russia. The budget sets aside more money for just about everything. The extra spending will allow the military to add 16,400 troops.

Key proposed changes:

—Adds $24 billion to modernize the nuclear infrastructure.

—To deal with the growing threat from a nuclear-armed North Korea, the budget sets aside money to add 20 ground-based missile interceptors in Alaska, increasing the number to 64.


Education Department

The Trump administration is seeking to cut more than $3 billion from the Education Department while investing $1.6 billion to support private school vouchers and other school choice programs.

Key proposed changes:

—Cuts several discretionary grant programs, including the D.C. tuition aid program.

—Pell grants would be expanded so they could be used for short-term academic and certificate programs, reflecting the administration’s emphasis on career training over four-year colleges and universities.


Energy Department

The Trump administration is seeking $30.7 billion for the Energy Department, a 2 percent increase from fiscal year 2017. But the administration wants to add money for overseeing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile and slash spending elsewhere, including science and renewable research.

Key proposed changes:

—Slashes 66 percent of the budget for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which studies advanced transportation, wind and solar energy.

—Eliminates the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a program popular in Congress.

—Cuts the department’s loan guarantee programs, although the existing portfolio would be maintained.

—Terminates construction of a mixed-oxide nuclear fuel fabrication facility in South Carolina that has the support of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

—A 17.5 percent boost for the department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which makes up nearly half the department’s budget.

—The administration is also seeking to sell electric transmission assets of federally-owned utilities in the northwestern United States.


Department of Health and Human Services

The budget would add funding to HHS, the government’s largest domestic agency. The administration is seeking to draw attention to heightened funding to combat opioid addiction, as well as its first steps toward trying to slow prescription drug spending for older Americans on Medicare. The budget also anticipates profound changes to social safety-net programs. It calls on Congress to transform Medicaid from an entitlement system, in which the federal government pays states a portion of the costs for everyone who qualifies, into a system of capped federal payments that frees states from federal eligibility and benefits rules. And it would put a new emphasis on working in order for poor people to be able to receive various types of federal assistance.

Key proposed changes:

—Cuts funding of the subsidies that help more than four in five people with ACA marketplace health plans afford insurance premiums.

—“New investments” to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an initiative begun under the Obama administration called the Global Health Security Agenda to strengthen countries’ abilities to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, whether naturally occurring, accidental or deliberate.

—Adds $5 billion over the next five years to combat the opioid epidemic, a fraction of what experts say is needed. (The money is part of $10 billion in government funding for substance abuse and mental health requested in the budget.)

—Adds $1 billion in new resources for fiscal 2019, up from $500 million in each of the last two years.


Department of Homeland Security

The Trump administration’s budget seeks additional funds to catch, detain and deport immigrants living in the country illegally. DHS would get $47.5 billion in discretionary funding, a 12 percent increase.

Key proposed changes:

—Sets aside $1.6 billion for construction of 65 miles of border wall in South Texas.

—Adds $782 million to hire and support 2,750 additional law enforcement officers and agents at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

—Adds $2.8 billion to increase immigration detention to 52,000 beds per day.

—Adds $71 million for new technology at Transportation Security Admin.

—Adds $2.2 billion for Secret Service to hire 450 special agents, officers and professional staff.


Department of Housing and Urban Development

Trump’s proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year includes a 14 percent cut to HUD, amounting to $6.8 billion below the agency’s current $48 billion spending.

Key proposed changes:

—Reduces Section 8 federal housing subsidies

—Eliminates the $1.9 billion fund for public housing capital repairs

—Like last year, zeroes out community development block grants, which play a key role in disaster recovery, as well as grants to states and local governments to increase homeownership for the lowest-income Americans, and funding for neighborhood redevelopment.

—The administration plans to unveil legislation to institute work requirements for Americans receiving housing subsidies, on a broad scale.


Interior Department

With the public parks and lands system struggling with $12 billion in deferred maintenance – half of which applies to deteriorating roads – the administration’s budget proposes a new “Public Lands Infrastructure Fund” that would total $152 million in fiscal 2019 and grow significantly in subsequent years. By fiscal 2023, it would be $764 million. Overall the department would receive $2 billion less than it did in 2017.

Key proposed changes:

—Slashes $33 million, or 92 percent, of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports land acquisition and restoration efforts using federal revenue from oil and gas drilling off the Outer Continental Shelf.

—Takes 50 percent of energy leasing receipts that exceed fiscal 2018 budget projections and are not allocated for other programs and divert those to the infrastructure projects. With Interior trying to expand energy development on federal lands and waters, the document notes, “this initiative has the potential to generate up to $18 billion over 10 years for parks and other public lands infrastructure.”


Justice Department

The Justice Department’s $28 billion budget proposal, which is roughly the same as last year’s budget, reflects Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s priorities to fight the opioid crisis and crack down on illegal immigration. The budget transfers the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ responsibilities for alcohol and tobacco enforcement to the Treasury Department. About $2.175 billion would come from the administration’s infrastructure budget for a new FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Key proposed changes:

—Eliminates the Community Relations Service, a “peacemaker” office created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to help ease conflicts and tensions in communities facing conflicts over race, gender, religion and other factors. Duties of the office, which is not an investigative or prosecutorial unit, will be merged with the Civil Rights Division, which does investigate crimes. Jobs will be eliminated when the office is moved.

—The Bureau of Prisons will close two regional offices and close two stand-alone minimum security prison camps for a savings of more than $122 million.

—Allots an additional $295 million to fighting the opioid epidemic.

—Adds $65.9 million for immigration enforcement and border security.


Labor Department

The Trump administration has proposed slashing the Labor Department’s funding by 10 percent to $10.9 billion. The Labor Department seeks to pull money out of programs it deems “duplicative, unnecessary, unproven, or ineffective,” the proposal said. Over the last year, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has pushed to expand apprenticeships, a form of worker retraining he has identified as particularly effective, and roll back efforts he finds wasteful. The Labor Department’s tentative budget showed deep cuts to a variety of worker training and emergency aid programs. The Labor Department didn’t specify which specific programs would face the most trimming.

Key proposed changes:

—Cut funding for National Dislocated Worker Grants – support for those who lose their jobs in natural disasters or factory closures – from $219.5 million in 2017 to $51 million in 2019.

—Shrink funding for Adult Employment and Training Activities, which serve veterans, Native Americans and young people who have dropped out of high school, by nearly half, from $810 million in 2017 to $490.3 million in 2019.

—Raise funding for apprenticeships more than double, from $95 million to $200 million.


State Department, USAID and Treasury International Program

The Trump administration is seeking to again make deep cuts at the State Department, although Congress largely ignored a similar attempt last year. The administration says spending for the department and the Agency for International Development is focused on protecting security, promoting American economic competitiveness and leadership, and providing accountability to taxpayers.


Transportation Department

The White House is seeking to reduce funding for Amtrak’s long-distance services, saying states should share in those costs. Cuts would be made in the Essential Air Service program, which is meant to make sure small communities have access to air service. The changes would focus on areas where there are “high per passenger subsidies” and communities near certain airports.

Key proposed changes:

—Eliminate TIGER grants, a major discretionary program. The competitive grants fund a variety of road, rail and transit efforts.

—“Wind down” a major source of transit funding, the Capital Investment Grants program, limiting it to those projects that already have funding agreements in place.

—The White House is also re-upping its proposal to shift the nation’s air traffic control system out of government hands.


Treasury Department

The budget proposal would drop the Treasury Department’s budget by around $400 million, just a 3 percent decrease. But in a major change, it would transfer the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)’s responsibilities for alcohol and tobacco enforcement from Justice to Treasury. The proposal would also cut some funding to Office of Financial Research, created after the financial crisis to help federal agencies manage risk.


Department of Veterans Affairs

The Trump administration is proposing a major funding increase for the troubled U.S. Department of Veterans Affair. The funding includes a boost to suicide prevention but in some cases cuts cost of living bumps to disabled veterans living on benefits.

Key proposed changes:

—Add $8.6 billion for mental health services, 6 percent above 2018, to support standardized suicide screening and risk assessments and expand options for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment.

—Provide emergent mental health services to certain former service members with other than honorable administrative discharges.

—Provide $381 million to programs “to reduce over-reliance on opioids for pain management.”


Environmental Protection Agency

Under the proposed plan, several dozen EPA programs would be eliminated altogether. But a few programs would be expanded, and the White House is no longer seeking to eliminate the Energy Star program (though it would be funded entirely through fees.)

Key proposed changes:

—Eliminate funding for state radon-detection programs, assistance to fund water system improvements along the U.S.-Mexico border and partnerships to monitor and restore water quality in the Gulf of Mexico, Puget Sound and other large water bodies.

—Add $397 million in funding to bolster investment in wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

—The Superfund cleanup program, a priority of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, would no longer be slashed.



The Trump administration proposed a $19.9 billion budget for NASA, a small increase over the current spending plan. The budget would fund development of its Space Launch System rocket and James Webb Telescope. But it calls for an end of funding for the International Space Station after 2024, and privatizing the orbiting laboratory.

Key proposed changes:

—Terminates the $100 million Office of Education

—Cuts development of the WFIRST telescope.

—Adds $54.2 million to help develop manufacturing technologies in space.


Small Business Administration

The Trump administration is seeking to cut the Small Business Administration’s budget by 5.9 percent, reducing the agency’s federal funding by 25 percent while the agency uses unspecified new fees and unspent funding from previous years to cover the difference.

Key proposed changes:

—Despite the funding reductions, the agency does not plan to roll back any of its small business loan guarantees.

—The agency is considering increasing the fees it charges to back small business loans larger than $1 million, something that could deter lenders from offering small business loans.


Numbers from the Office of Management and Budget. Totals may not add up because of rounding. Unlike other departments, the Justice’s addendum included “offsets removed,” which complicates the analysis. The $28 billion proposed 2019 budget estimate was provided by the agency. Also, The Department of Homeland Security was established in 2002. Its budget numbers before that time represent the funding for the then-independent agencies that now make up the department.


The Washington Post’s Moriah Balingit, Lenny Bernstein, Christian Davenport, Brady Dennis, Caitlin Dewey, Darryl Fears, Reuben Fischer-Baum, Anne Gearan, Amy Goldstein, Aaron Gregg, Sari Horowitz, Greg Jaffe, Tracy Jan, Michael Laris, Denise Lu, David J. Lynch, Nick Miroff, Chris Mooney, Steven Mufson, Danielle Paquette, Jeff Stein, Kim Soffen, Lena Sun, Kevin Uhrmacher and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux contributed to this report.