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What Does Trump's Budget Mean To You? - Part 2

Agriculture Department
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) could face a hefty 21% cut in discretionary funding, which would affect food safety, rural development, international food aid, and the National Forest Service. While there is no reference to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), funding will decrease by $200 million ($6.2 billion from $6.4).[1] WIC provides special nutrition programs to low-income mothers and babies to help increase childhood nutrition and fight childhood obesity and other health issues that come with poor nutrition.

Another USDA program that is set to be scrapped is the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, which strives to reduce hunger and improve literacy and primary education in developing countries.

Department of Education
The proposed budget will reduce funding to the Department of Education by $3.7 billion. The cuts would affect teacher training programs, after-school and summer programs, aid programs to first-generation college students and low-income students.[2] $1.4 billion would move towards expanding charter schools, private school vouchers, and developing alternatives to traditional public school options.[3] While the proposal would add $1 billion to Title I funds, a program for schools with high numbers of low-income students, the funds would be used to encourage "portability," or having federal funds follow students to whichever school they decide to attend. This proposal is controversial because it can draw funds away from high-poverty schools and direct them to affluent schools using school choice vouchers.

Other education programs may be affected, including efforts to help low-income middle and high school students prepare for college and opportunity grants for college students. There should be no change to the funding for educating students with disabilities.

What does this mean to Americans?
President Trump's blueprint clarifies the promise to "make America great again." The allocation priorities suggest that the administration wants to achieve greatness by focusing on physical safety and security, increasing funding for the armed forces, Homeland Security, building a southern border wall, and school choice. Again, in the President's words:

"We must ensure that our courageous servicemen and women have the tools they need to deter war, and when called upon to fight, do only one thing: Win. In these dangerous times, this public safety and national security Budget Blueprint is a message to the world—a message of American strength, security, and resolve."[4]

The responsibility for turning this blueprint into an actual budget now rests with Congress. While the Republican Party holds a majority in both houses, there is considerable disagreement over many of these programs, and it is likely that we will see many changes as the process goes on. At this stage, citizen input is a significant factor. If you have strong feelings about any of these budget cuts, let your representatives know! We'll be following the negotiations and reporting proposed changes that are likely to have an impact on low and middle-income Americans, so stay tuned for more as the process unfolds.