McCollum Says Trump’s “Backwards” Budget Devastating to Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – Rep. Betty McCollum (D-CD4) released a statement on Thursday calling President Donald Trump’s proposed budget’s discretionary spending cuts “backwards” and bad for Minnesota.

“President Donald Trump’s budget reflects priorities that are unrecognizable to most Americans. The Trump administration is asking Congress to take our families, our communities and our nation backwards and to inflict pain and pollution on the American people,” McCollum said in her statement.

As Alpha News reported, McCollum has been very vocal in resisting the new administration, calling Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development appointment Dr. Ben Carson “unqualified.”

The Washington Post reports the Trump administration released a preliminary budget proposal on Thursday, detailing changes to federal government spending the president wants to make in 2018. The proposal covers only discretionary, not mandatory, spending.

The Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and the Agriculture Department were three departments with the largest percentage of cuts.

The Environmental Protection Agency will be cut by $2.5 billion in part by eliminating a fifth of its workforce and discontinuing funding for international climate change programs. Drinking water infrastructure funding will remain intact.

The State Department would be cut by  $10.9 billion. Climate change prevention programs, funding for the World Bank, and for other development banks would all receive cuts.

The Agriculture Department would be cut by $4.7 billion dollars. USDA staffing would be trimmed by an unspecified amount, and $500 million in water and wastewater loan and grant program would be eliminated. Reductions will not impact the SNAP (food stamp) program.

Trump Discretionary Budget Cuts in Percentages

Credit: Washington Post
Credit: Washington Post

“Slashing the Environmental Protection Agency by nearly a third, denying climate change and making it easier for polluters to dictate environmental policies will leave our air and water filthy and cause toxic waste sites to fester,” McCollum said.

A controversial budget cut includes the elimination of Arts and Cultural Agencies which fund nonprofit groups across the country, including radio stations, orchestras and theaters. This eliminates $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports public television and radio, including PBS and NPR.

“This budget will weaken our civic, cultural and economic life by eliminating both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. These institutions stimulate regional economies, promote innovation and creativity, assist students, and serve our veterans – all while having a tiny effect on the federal deficit,” McCollum wrote. “President Trump’s termination of these agencies will hurt communities large and small across the United States.”

Discretionary spending limits are set by congressional budget resolutions, while mandatory spending is set by other laws and is determined by the size of the benefit and the eligible population.

McCollum concluded her statement saying, “I stand united with my Democratic colleagues and millions of Americans who completely reject Mr. Trump’s backwards budget.”

Donna Azarian