March 16 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Thursday released a proposed budget that could cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent and the State Department by 29 percent while boosting military funds.
Stacks of the blueprint — titled “America First” — were delivered to the Government Printing Office bookstore and a 62-page document was posted on the White House website early Thursday.
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday told reporters the White House proposal will cut the EPA’s budget down from $8.1 billion to $5.7 billion. About 3,200 positions — or more than 20 percent — in the EPA’s workforce of 15,000 would be cut.
The proposed budget would end funding to former President Barack Obama‘s Clean Power Plan — his signature effort to combat climate change by regulating power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions. EPA programs such as the $73 million-a-year Chesapeake Bay cleanup project and the Energy Star program, designed to improve energy efficiency and save consumers money, would lose all funding.
“You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it. So, I guess the first place that comes to mind will be the Environmental Protection Agency,” Mulvaney told reporters. “The president wants a smaller EPA. He thinks they overreach, and the budget reflects that.”
In a Gallup poll released Wednesday, 59 percent of Americans said protecting the environment is more important than continuing use of traditional energy, such as fossil fuels. In the poll, 71 percent of people said the United States should focus on alternative energy to solve U.S. energy problems, while 23 percent said the country should emphasize the production of oil, gas and coal.
The State Department’s core programs face a $10 billion cut. The budget proposal would eliminate climate-change initiatives and slash foreign aid funding, United Nations contributions and cultural exchanges. The proposal also calls for cuts to State Department operations in war-torn areas such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Overall, the State Department’s budget would shrink from $52.8 billion to $37.6 billion.
Trump’s proposal would eliminate funding to 19 agencies including the African Development Foundation, the Chemical Safety Board, the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Institute on Peace and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
The winners in Trump’s proposed budget are the Defense Department which would see a $52.3 billion increase, the Department of Veterans Affairs which would see a $4.4 billion increase and the Department of Homeland Security which will see a $2.8 billion increase.
“There’s no question this is a hard-power budget,” Mulvaney said. “It is not a soft-power budget. This is a hard-power budget. And that was done intentionally. The president very clearly wants to send a message to our allies and our potential adversaries that this is a strong-power administration.”
Trump’s budget requires approval from Congress.
“The administration’s budget isn’t going to be the budget,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. “We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets.”