With the Trump administration’s budget proposal for 2020 now released, it seems to be good news for the Pentagon and many other security-related agencies. However, over the next decade, federal civilian spending is set to be reduced by $2.7 trillion. How has the proposal been received? For the Democratic leaders in Congress, it’s fair to say there has been some resistance.
Who Would Benefit?
As one might expect, defense and security are key themes in the proposal, and the risk of another government shutdown increases again as Trump asks for an extra $8.6 billion in this regard. The following departments would see a significant increase in their budgets;
-Department of Homeland Security – 8%
-Veterans Affairs – 7%
-Defense Department – 5%
Who Would Suffer?
On the other hand, one of the biggest losers will be the Environment Protection Agency with their budget reduced by 31%. There are many departments with a proposed cut of larger than 10%;
-State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID)
-Housing and Urban Development
-Health and Human Services
For federal civilian employees, the proposal suggests not only a cut to pay but also retirement and retirement benefits. Sadly, they could also be hit by a number of other changes including higher contributions, the elimination of cost-of-living adjustments for FERS participants, and, of course, no pay rise.
For the Department of Defense, they actually got more than expected (and more than they asked for). Although there’s an effort to maintain the Budget Control Act spending caps, there’s a workaround for the Pentagon as $100 billion will be moved from the base budget of the DoD to their Overseas Contingency Operations account.
Elsewhere, around 30,000 active-duty and reserve troops will be added to the military while all service members enjoy a pay rise of 3.1%. If we consider an O-4 with service of 12 years, this could amount to around $2,800.
Although not quite up to the requests of $228 million and $210 million, the 2020 Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) is set to double what they received in 2018 and 2019 combined. If accepted by Congress, the TMF would receive $150 million. Meanwhile, $25 million has also been requested by the General Services Administration in order to introduce a project management office and upgrade the reporting of IT programs across the government.
According to the group of 2020 census stakeholders, the Census Project, the 2020 proposal offers $1 billion less than the amount required. For the whole Census Bureau in fiscal 2020, the President has proposed $7.2 billion; Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested $7.4 billion for 2020’s decennial count.
For fiscal 2018, the Freedom of Information Act is set to exceed 800,000 requests from the year before. Driving down a backlog, the Justice Department has noted the work of agencies including the proactive disclosing of records.
Two senior appointments were made at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). While Lindsee Gentry becomes the Deputy Director of the Office of External Affairs (OEA), Jignasa Gadani will take the role of the Office of Energy Policy and Innovation (OEPI) Director.
Recently, the DHS has been in the news constantly with regards to the southern border. This being said, problems with counterfeit goods on the northern border seem to be worsening. For example, a so-called Global Trade Task Force was deployed in Detroit and managed to seize fake drugs and cosmetics to the value of $1 million. This special task force is made up of experts from the Commerce Department, Homeland Security Investigation, the Food and Drug Administration, and Customs and Border Protection.