03.13.17

Appropriations Vice Chair Leahy Releases Letter To Senate Budget Committee, Warning Of Dangerous Double-Impact Of Trump Budget + Budget Sequestration

Ahead of the Trump Administration releasing its budget proposal later this week, Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy Monday released a letter to the Senate Budget Committee outlining the consequences that sequestration has already had on the American people and warning of the dangerous cuts proposed by the Trump Administration for Fiscal Year 2018.

In the five years since the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), discretionary programs have been slashed by $2 trillion under post-sequestration budget cuts.  The resulting cuts have taken their toll on everything from the readiness of U.S. armed forces, to millions of families not receiving heating assistance, and drastic cuts to federal investment in job training and employment programs.  

In Fiscal Year 2018, post-sequestration budget caps are set to return under the BCA, which are $4.9 billion below Fiscal Year 2017 levels.  This is on top of an estimated $12.8 billion hole due to scorekeeping adjustments and required spending over which Congress has little control.  Without a cap increase non-defense discretionary programs will have to absorb cuts $15.7 billion dollars below the Fiscal Year 2017 level, or roughly a 3 percent cut. 

On top of these cuts, President Trump has proposed slashing an additional $54 billion from non-defense programs to pay for his defense increase.  Assuming, as the Trump Administration has indicated, an increase for veterans’ funding and border security, this would result in a 13 percent cut to non-defense discretionary programs.

Leahy wrote:  “Proposing such draconian cuts constitutes a fundamental lack of understanding of the role such programs play in securing our nation, creating jobs (including in rural America), caring for our veterans, promoting Americans’ health and the environment, and helping our vulnerable citizens.”

Leahy continued:  “It is clear that a $54 billion cut to non-defense discretionary programs would threaten the growth of our economy, hurt national security, and unfairly impact low-income and middle class families.  It also violates the principal of parity established in the Bipartisan Budget Acts of 2013 and 2015.  We cannot sustain such cuts.”

Leahy’s full letter, which details potential cuts and their consequences, is available HERE

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