Trump’s 2021 Budget Would Slash Civilian Agencies, Boost Defense and Veterans Affairs
The White House also reportedly will propose moving the Secret Service back to the Treasury Department.
The White House on Monday is expected to release a $4.8 trillion budget for fiscal 2021 that would boost spending for some national security and veterans programs, but includes major cuts to foreign aid and non-Defense agencies.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which obtained a copy of the proposal, the Trump administration would increase military spending by 0.3% (to $740.5 billion) and decrease non-defense spending by 5% (to $590 billion,), which is below the budget cap Congress and the White House agreed to last summer. The proposal also is expected to include a plan to move the Secret Service back to the Treasury Department where it resided prior to the creation of Homeland Security in 2003. The move, which would require congressional approval, would make it easier to combat money laundering and other forms of financial fraud, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday.
The administration is proposing funding increases for a number of agencies, including: NASA (12%), the Veterans Affairs Department (13%), the National Nuclear Security Administration (19%) and the Homeland Security Department (3%), according to the Journal.
But the White House plan would cut funding for foreign aid by 21%, the Environmental Protection Agency by 26%, Housing and Urban Development by 15%, the Commerce Department by 37% (attributed to the census’ completion) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by 9%, although it would preserve $4.3 billion to fight infectious diseases as the coronavirus raises fears of a global pandemic, the Journal reported.
Anticipating cuts to foreign aid, on Friday former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen sent a letter to House and Senate leaders warning that the United States needs to invest more in diplomacy and overseas development, not less:
“At a time when there are more displaced people than any time since World War II, when new diseases threaten lives and economies, when post-conflict countries struggle to put the pieces back together, as active conflicts from Syria to Libya burn, and as we try to secure the hard-fought gains against the Islamic State and Al Shabab for the long term, diplomacy and global development matter.
Every military leader I served with knew this and many have testified that our civilian acuity reduces the need for military action now and in the future. In an area of great power competition, cutting these critical investments would be out of touch with the reality around the world.”
The plan will request $2 billion for the president’s signature border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, which is $3 billion less than the White House asked for last year, the Journal reported.
While the Pentagon is slated to receive an increase in funding, Defense officials on Thursday said they would shift $5.7 billion of the department’s funds to focus on “higher priority projects,” such as nuclear modernization, artificial intelligence and 5G communications technology, DefenseOne reported. More than $1 billion of that is expected to come from personnel and benefits programs.
The White House is expected to send its budget request to Congress on Monday afternoon.