Federal Budget 2018 – Blueprint Release

On Wednesday, the Trump Administration released a budget blueprint outlining their priority budget changes for Federal Fiscal Year 2018.  Significant cuts are proposed to discretionary funding for a variety of federal departments including the Environmental Protection Agency (31%), the State Department (29%), and the Department of Health & Human Services (17.9%), among many others.  In part these cuts will be used to fund a 54% increase in defense spending.  According to the Administration, the blueprint, or “skinny budget” details only their discretionary funding proposals; their full budget will be released later this spring and will include specific mandatory spending and tax proposals.

Drilling down on proposed reductions to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the blueprint includes over a $15 billion cut to HHS, and a $5.8 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health (compromising over a third of the cut to HHS).  Please note, no detailed information is provided on either the Medicare or Medicaid programs other than provisions to strengthen fraud, waste and abuse prevention activities and to support the efficient operations of the programs.  Other proposals include:

  • Reforms to key public health, emergency preparedness and prevention programs (according to the blueprint, as an example, they will restructure similar HHS preparedness grants to reduce overlap and administrative costs and direct resources to the States with the greatest need; however, no further information is provided).
  • Creates a Federal Emergency Response Fund to respond to emergency outbreaks (No detail on funding).
  • Reforms the CDC through a new $500 million block grant to increase State flexibility and focus on the leading public health challenges specific to each state.
  • $500 million increase from FY 2016 enacted levels to expand opioid misuse prevention efforts.
  • Supports direct health services, such as those provided by community health centers, Ryan White HIV/AIDS providers, and the Indian Health Service (no further detail).
  • Eliminates $403 million in health professions and nursing training program funding.
  • Eliminates the discretionary programs within the Office of Community Services, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Community Services Block Grant.

In the Department of Agriculture, the blueprint proposes to reduce funding for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program from $6.4 billion to $6.2 billion.

House Democrats were less than pleased with the President’s proposal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi remarking to reporters “as low as my expectations have been, this budget really goes beyond.”  House Speaker Paul Ryan only noted that “it’s a long ongoing process. This is the very beginning.”

The Washington Post put together a helpful article and infographic on the entire proposal; it can be found here.