We already knew that the White House’s “America First” budget blueprint for FY 2018
was going to include deep cuts to major federal agencies.
During today’s press briefing OMB Director Mick Mulvaney made the point that this blueprint is just that, a “blueprint” — it does not consider, for example, tax reform, infrastructure spending, health care and a number of other important aspects of the federal budget.
Mulvaney spoke about the budget and took questions during today’s press briefing (from about minute 11 to minute 36).
We now know the exact breadth and depth of cuts to major federal agencies:
Budget cuts to the following Federal Departments and Agencies:
– Agriculture (-29.7%)
– Commerce (-15.7%)
– Education ( -13%)
– Energy (-5.6%)
– Health and Human Services (-17.9%)
– Housing and Urban Development (-13.2%)
– Interior (-11.7%)
– Justice (-3.8%)
– Labor (-21%)
– State/USAID (-28%)
– Treasury International Programs (-35%)
– Transportation (-13%)
– Treasury (-4.1%)
– Environmental Protection (-31%)
– State Department (-28%)
– NASA (-0.8%)
– Small Business (-5%)
– Defense (+10%)
– Veterans Affairs (+6%)
– Homeland Security (+6.8%)
The blueprint also proposes to “eliminate funding” for various other independent agencies and departments. While there are too many to include them all here, there are a few that are important to highlight.
President Trump wants to cut ALL funding to:
– the African Development Foundation
– the Chemical Safety Board
– the Corporation for National and Community Service
– the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
– the Denali Commission
– the Institute of Museum and Library Services
– the U.S. Trade and Development Agency
– the National Endowment for the Arts
– the National Endowment for the Humanities
– the United States Institute of Peace
– the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
– the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
This budget blueprint is just the starting point for the overall Federal Budget. OMB Director Mulvaney told the press corps that we can expect a full budget, rather than a “blueprint,” by mid-May.
After that, the budget will go to Congress, and we can expect strong opposition to many of these cuts from both Republicans and Democrats.
Senate Intelligence Committee: No Wiretapping
As far as the Senate Intelligence Committee is aware, after receiving more information on President Trump’s claims of wiretapping, there is no evidence that supports the accusation that President Obama tapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.
When confronted with that fact during today’s press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer was unable to accept the fact that there is no evidence the Trump campaign was surveilled during the 2016 campaign.
For a while now, the White House has changed its charge from literal phone tapping to a general claim of “surveillance.” While reporters in today’s press briefing attempted at length to get Spicer to accept the Senate Committee’s statement, they were unable to get a direct answer.
One of the most contentious back and forths from today’s briefing can be seen below at the end of this section.
Dan Coats has been confirmed and sworn in as the next Director of National Intelligence.