West Virginia's  Harper's Ferry Bridge

West Virginia's Harper's Ferry Bridge Lissandra Melo

The 18 Independent Agencies Trump Wants to Eliminate

The president’s budget suggests entirely eliminating these bodies, from the Appalachian Regional Commission to the National Endowment for the Arts.

On Tuesday, the White House released President Trump’s proposal for the 2018 federal budget, outlining his spending priorities for Congress and the country. The budget seeks $1.4 trillion in savings with significant cuts to many domestic programs. But for 18 independent agencies, it goes a step further—and proposes eliminating their funding entirely.

The budget is dubbed “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” and Trump’s proposed route to making America great again will involve a substantial increase in defense spending, offset with deep cuts to safety-net programs and agencies like the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Since releasing his preliminary “skinny budget” proposal in March, Trump has made it clear that he wants to fatten one thing: the Department of Defense. He’ll increase the department’s budget by $54 billion, a move he says sends “a message of American strength and resolve” to the world.

To do that, Trump plans to shrink the budget for the State Department and USAID by 29 percent and outlines a 31 percent cut in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, discontinuing all funds for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs and research, and for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay Program. 

In the budget, Trump proposes a reduction in funding and eventual elimination of 18 independent agencies—those that exist outside of federal departments headed by a Cabinet secretary. One of those agencies is the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership focused on economic development in a region encompassing all of West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Its inclusion is notable, because it serves a region that largely supported Trump, and which he has promised to revive economically.

Another is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, an agency created in 1967 to ensure universal access to television and radio programming. The CPB’s budget relies almost entirely on federal funds and it distributes most of its funding to locally owned public radio and television stations. Trump also proposed eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts, an agency supporting projects in arts education, literature, music, and other disciplines.

Here’s the complete list of the independent agencies Trump wants to eliminate:

  • African Development Foundation
  • Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Chemical Safety Board
  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Delta Regional Authority
  • Denali Commission
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Inter-American Foundation
  • U.S. Trade and Development Agency
  • Legal Services Corporation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
  • Northern Border Regional Commission
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation
  • United States Institute of Peace
  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

The budget is likely to face significant opposition from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress.