Washington, D.C. – Today, the White House released a budget outline for Fiscal Year 2018 detailing severe cuts across government agencies already beleaguered with hiring freezes and unstaffed posts. The budget outline, also referred to as the “skinny budget” in Capitol Hill circles because of its lack of detail, slashes investments in education, housing, health, environmental protection, and completely does away with some public programs. In addition, the outline seeks over $4.5 billion in immigration enforcement funding that would be used to construct the border wall, implement a deportation force, and expand immigration detention infrastructure. Previously, the White House sent guidance to agencies that proposed a $54 billion increase in defense spending funded by cuts to domestic agencies.
Notable budget cuts include a 21 percent decrease for the Department of Agriculture, a 13 percent decrease for the Department of Education, a 17.9 percent decrease from the Department of Health and Human Services, 13.2 percent decrease from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a 21 percent decrease for the Department of Labor, a 28 percent decrease for the Department of State, and a 31 percent decrease for the Environmental Protection Agency.
“While we support the military and want our troops to be combat ready, we need to find a balance so that these aims aren’t accomplished by massive cuts to programs and work done by other non-defense agencies,” said LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. “LULAC is extremely concerned by proposed cuts that would eliminate programs that aim to prevent violence against women, encourage community-oriented policing, and provide legal aid to the indigent, among others. Particularly concerning is the $4.5 billion earmarked for immigration enforcement that has the potential to financially empower the existing deportation machine that is tearing our families and communities apart.”
Although the budget is not a binding document and does not carry force of law, it is intended to be a blueprint for Republican leaders who will work on their own budget resolution. Republicans are expected to push hard to get both the House and Senate to agree to their budget resolution. Passage by both chambers is required in order for GOP leaders to use the budget reconciliation process as a vehicle to pass other legislation, like ACA repeal, without the threat of a filibuster.
“Our country’s budget is a reflection of our values,” said Rocha. “A key bright spot in the budget outline is a 6 percent increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs, ensuring that our veterans continue to receive quality and timely health care and access to critical education, homelessness prevention, and transition resources. However, gutting arts, education, environmental protection, health care, housing, civil rights, and public television and radio programs shows that the administration is out of touch with the everyday person and pursuing a radical agenda that puts cuts above people’s livelihoods. We need more investments, not less. LULAC believes that we can have both a strong and combat ready Department of Defense and a robust slate of executive agencies that are working on addressing the needs of our community on a host of different areas. LULAC will continue to weigh in with Congress as it moves to draft its own budget resolution to ensure that it addresses the needs of all of our communities and reflects our American values.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.lulac.org.