Here Are The Programs Potentially on the Budget Chopping Block

February 18th 2017

Willie Burnley Jr.

The Trump administration hasn't released their inaugural budget proposal yet, but word has spread of a draft kill list of federal programs and agencies to be eliminated that includes the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Office of Budget and Management's list of nine entities to cut is populated with programs that are criticized routinely by many conservatives and would do little lower the trillions of dollars the federal government is expected to spend this year. If all the cuts were to stand, it opens $2.5 billion in a budget that's over $4 trillion.

Yet, by providing these gifts to Republicans in Congress, Trump can set himself up to be seen as fighting for small-government while hardly putting a dent in its size or costs.

Some of the impacted agencies are relied on and enjoyed by many Americans. The CPB helps fund independent media, including shows like “Sesame Street” on Public Broadcast Service and National Public Radio.

The NEA, similarly, helps fund art programs for organizations and projects by individuals, while the NEH provides grants to cultural and scholarly institutions like museums, libraries and colleges.

To be clear, it is not the president’s job to pass a budget and their budgets are rarely passed. In theory, Congress uses the president’s budget as a starting point to debate how the budget should be structured and how funds should be appropriated to federal agencies pr programs in the coming years.

In reality, budgets are proposed often by presidents and members of Congress and rarely manifest into anything more than political talking points and recycling bin fodder.

In the last two decades, only two true budgets have been passed by Congress and signed by the president, the most recent of which was in 2015 and the other in 1997. In the absence of federal budgets, spending bills and “continuing resolutions” maintain the government’s operations temporarily as more congressional action - or inaction - can be taken on crafting a budget that plans for the long-term.

The federal government’s funding will expire on April 28, pressing the need for Congress to come up with a budget or an even more short-term fix. Before then, Trump’s budget is expected to cut minor programs and call for more spending on the military.

According to the New York Times, the White House hopes to finalize its list of programs to cut or reduce by March 13 after receiving more input from federal agencies. From there, the response of congressional Republicans and Democrats will be crucial to how a potential budget process unfolds.