Earlier today, President Trump submitted a supplemental request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 funding and a “budget blueprint” proposal for FY 2018 to Congress. Importantly, the administration’s full budget, that will include specific agency component and program proposed funding details, as well as mandatory spending proposals, tax proposals, legislative proposals, and an infrastructure proposal is to be released in May.
The administration’s FY 2017 supplemental request includes seeking $30 billion in additional funds for the Department of Defense, and an additional $3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, related to border security and immigration enforcement. Notably, the request also recommends that Congress reduce non-defense discretionary agency spending by $18 billion for the remainder of FY 2017. No specific agencies or programs are proposed or targeted for this significant reduction in current agency spending levels, which would greatly impact non-defense agency budgets.
This spending request would also violate the established, overall spending caps for FY 2017 as provided under current law under the Budget Control Act of 2011, and the administration proposes amending the defense vs. non-defense caps for the remainder of FY 2017.
As a reminder, current FY 2017 funding expires on April 28, and Congress will either have to advance a Continuing Resolution before this date or determine how to proceed on 11 out of 12 remaining appropriations bills, coupled with this new request, or face a potential government shutdown.
The administration’s initial FY 2018 budget proposal seeks a $54 billion increase in defense spending to be fully offset by massive reductions at non-defense agencies with the purpose of “rebuilding our nation’s military… and make Government lean and accountable to the people.” Many of the proposed agency discretionary cuts would have severe consequences on programs and personnel, if ultimately enacted, including likely job losses given the size of the proposed reductions. The administration’s FY 2018 proposal also would call for Congress to amend the current defense and non-defense overall budget caps, as provided by current law.
The budget blueprint begins by referencing the recent Executive Orders on the federal agency Hiring Freeze, and the call for the Reorganization of the Executive branch, and highlights plans to focus on program management and to review core agency functions to ensure “Government’s effectiveness, efficiency, cybersecurity, and accountability.” This document outlines plans to link agency programs and services to performance metrics, data, and outcomes, and to reform and review hiring, IT, acquisition policies, real property, as well as financial and compliance management, and to loosen unnamed government-wide requirements in order to reduce cost and to provide agencies with more flexibility to manage programs. No proposed amount for a federal employee pay raise for January 2018 is included in this initial budget proposal.
At this time, it is impossible to know the impact of this proposed budget, as there are almost no details on what offices and program accounts the recommended cuts come from within departments—for both the remainder of FY 2017 and for FY 2018. Additionally, many in Congress are already indicating that they have significant concerns with these spending recommendations, which will also require amending the current sequestration law.
NTEU will be making the case on Capitol Hill about the importance of your agencies and your programs to the American people, and we will work to secure our members’ jobs.
I will keep you updated on further developments.