Congress Makes Budget Deal
On Monday, Congress finally came to an agreement on a spending bill for the upcoming fiscal year. This budget undoes most of the budget proposals that President Donald Trump had included in his budget proposal.
The budget that Trump had proposed had huge spending cuts for most federal government programs, except the defense department, which was set to receive more funding.
The Environmental Protection Agency was going to have 3,200 jobs cuts and lose more than 20 percent of their current funding. The budget that the Congressional leaders agreed to only cuts the EPA’s funding about 1 percent and doesn’t cut anywhere close to the number of people that Trump proposed.
Various other agencies that are designed to help protect and uplift Americans were on similar chopping blocks. The EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Commerce Department, the Agriculture Department and the Education Department were the main agencies that would have seen huge cuts if Trump’s budget had passed.
The Community Block Grant was another program that Congress rescued from Trump’s chopping block. This grant is responsible for providing funding for many community organizations that help develop the local community. Perhaps, the most well-known example is the Meals on Wheels Program.
With Trump’s proposed budget, the Community Block Grant would have been completely cut, but Congress has completely restored the funding for this grant in their deal.
All of these cuts were just to pay for a whopping $54 billion increase in the Defense Department’s budget. What might necessitate such a huge increase you may be asking? Well, basically it was going to give the Defense Department money to buy themselves some new toys to play with.
This money is going towards funding an increase in soldiers in the Army and Marine Corps. Also, it is going towards funding the development of more F-35 jets and other war machines.
Without this increase, the United States already spends way more than the next few nations combined on our military. The US spent $640,221 billion in 2015 on our military, and China, the closest country, spent about $188,460 billion on their military. We also have one of the largest arsenals of tanks and other warfare vehicles in the world, and we don’t need to buy any more anytime soon.
Also, keep in mind the military is not really fighting a traditional style war where these kinds of warfare vehicles would be necessary. We are fighting rogue terrorist networks that really require us to use technology and smaller scale, more efficient operations. In fact, the military could even receive a cut to their funding, and they would still probably be able to effectively fight the terrorists.
Let’s hope that Trump doesn’t play politics with this budget and lets it pass. Congress already had to pass a stop-gap bill so the government didn’t shut down over the weekend, and we can’t have that happen. Trump might decide to play hardball, though, because they did take out quite a lot of the requests that he put in.