05.17.17

Appropriations Vice Chairman Leahy Outlines Consequences Of Sequestration And Trump Budget

In a letter to the Senate Budget Committee, Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy Wednesday outlined the consequences of returning to post-sequestration budget caps and the dangerous cuts proposed by the Trump Administration for fiscal year 2018.  The administration is expected to release its full budget next week.

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 shortfall  due to revised fee estimates 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. 

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.

In his letter, Leahy urges the Senate Budget Committee to reach a bipartisan agreement that would maintain parity between defense and non-defense discretionary programs and avert the devastating consequences of sequestration and the cuts proposed by the administration.

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

You can read Leahy’s full letter, which details potential cuts and their consequences, HERE.

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