National WIC Association

March 16, 2017

Trump Administration Releases Budget Blueprint

This morning, President Trump released his FY 2018 Budget Blueprint. The budget blueprint, also known as the “skinny budget”, includes top-level funding requests and some basic economic projections, though far less information and detail than the previous five administrations. The Trump administration’s full budget is expected to be released in mid-May.

President Trump’s skinny budget cuts $54 billion of non-defense discretionary spending—representing the largest domestic spending cut to the US budget in more than four decades—while increasing funding for the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the Blueprint, among the agencies facing the largest cuts from the annualized FY 2017 CR funding level in this budget include (keep in mind, that FY 2017 funding levels are not fully discerned as there is only a partial year CR in place and the percentage cuts are actually higher when compared with FY 2016 funding levels):

  • Environmental Protection Agency (faces a 31% cut)
  • State Department (faces a 28% cut)
  • Department of Agriculture (faces a 21% cut)
  • Department of Health and Human Services (faces a 18% cut)
  • Department of Labor (faces a 21% cut)

Compared to the funding level in FY 2016, USDA’s cut would mean that its total discretionary spending level would fall to $17.9 billion, from $25.2 billion in FY 2016, or a 29% funding cut. This cut targets food safety, rural development, conservation funding and international food aid. For example, the budget eliminates the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, that according to USDA served 2.261m children in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Laos, Malawi and Tanzania.

WIC does not seem to be targeted by the cut to Agriculture spending. The budget outline provides $6.2 billion “to serve all projected participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).” Without knowing all of the budget details included in the proposal to fund WIC, $6.2 billion is $150 million less than the FY 2016 appropriation, and $160 less than NWA’s FY 2018 appropriations request. It still may be adequate to meet caseload needs in FY 2018 as WIC caseloads have continued a steady decline from a high of 9.2 million in 2010 to a current participation level of 7.3 million.

Despite the WIC funding level, we are concerned about cuts to other domestic programs and what these cuts might mean for WIC families.

Outside of USDA, we are also concerned about the cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and others. The budget blueprint eliminates funding for regional water cleanup efforts, ends grants for ozone pollution cleanup and infrastructure assistance, and “reins in” spending on the toxic waste cleanup Superfund. Cuts to air quality and water quality programs will have implications for the health and well-being of young children, including childhood asthma rates and lead poisoning – think Flint, MI.

Some agencies and programs have been eliminated altogether in the President’s budget outline. These include:

  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Legal Services Corporation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Community Development Block Grants

It is expected that the $54 billion cuts to non-defense discretionary programs will be vigorously resisted by Senate Democrats, who have the power to block spending bills since passage will require 60 votes. In addition, Republicans on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are likely to push back against funding cuts to programs that in their view work well. We will keep you posted as the FY 2018 Appropriations process unfolds.

In addition to the FY 2018 budget outline, the administration also released a FY 2017 supplemental budget calling for $30 billion in additional funding for defense and border spending and $18 billion in cuts to domestic programs. WIC is not specifically mentioned in the supplemental request.