More agents along the border, but a hobbled PBS. A bigger military, but less chance of getting a decent lawyer if you’re poor.
The budget unveiled by the Trump administration on Thursday would remake the United States — vastly expanding national defense but cutting or gutting dozens of programs that touch the lives of Americans every day.
Charter schools would get more money. But federal money would be eliminated for an agency that improves water and sewer systems in impoverished corners of Appalachia.
The takeoff and landing of your plane would be guided by an air traffic controller working for a nonprofit, not the government. If you live in a small city served by subsidized commercial airline service, you might have to drive farther to get to an airport.
And if you use Amtrak trains to travel across the country, that would become harder, if not impossible. The budget would end support for the company’s long-distance train services.
Presidential budgets must be approved by Congress, and they are always changed, sometimes significantly, in the process. But they represent an outline of the administration’s priorities and its vision for the country.
Here’s a look at some of the specifics:
–The budget would increase the defense budget by $54 billion, including a larger naval fleet and more F-35 fighter jets for the Air Force.
— The budget would inject $314 million into border security and immigration enforcement. The money would allow the United States to hire 500 more Border Patrol agents and 1,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement workers next year.
— Trump would eliminate the Legal Services Corporation, which helps almost 2 million people a year. The agency helps poor people find lawyers to resolve housing cases and navigate bankruptcy, and helps victims of domestic violence get protective court orders.
— The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund “PBS NewsHour,” “Antiques Roadshow” and the rest of PBS and NPR, would lose all its federal funding. Public media gets both public and private money, but the CPB predicted early Thursday that the Trump cuts would cause “the collapse of the public media system itself.”
— The budget would eliminate a Transportation Department program that provides $175 million in subsidized commercial air service to rural airports. The program serves more than 30 states. The Trump budget argues that many of the flights aren’t full, and serve places “relatively close” to major airports.
— Trump would get rid of $11 million in what it calls “unproven” training grants doled out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which regulates safety in the workplace.
— The budget would eliminate $434 million for a Labor Department program that aims to help poor senior citizens find jobs. The administration says the program is ineffective: A third of participants don’t complete it, and only half of those who do complete it move into unsubsidized jobs.
— Federal support for Amtrak’s long-distance train service would end. The budget says the cuts would allow Amtrak to focus instead on state-supported and regional services, like its Northeast Corridor trains, which run between Boston and Washington.
— Federal funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission would be eliminated. The federal-state partnership was designed to build infrastructure and create economic opportunity across a region that runs from New York to Mississippi and includes some of the poorest pockets of the country.
— A program that offers federal funding to low-income families for help with home energy bills would be eliminated. Trump’s budget describes the program as being “unable to demonstrate strong performance outcomes.”
Clare Higgins, the head of an organization that last year oversaw the distribution of more than $6 million worth of federal money for about 7,500 households in rural Massachusetts, said eliminating the grant would be devastating for the community.
“I’m very concerned about these cuts,” she said. “Ronald Reagan didn’t cut heating assistance for poor people.”
— The budget could cut funding for Meals on Wheels, a program that provides meals for older, poor Americans. Meals on Wheels says about 3% of its funding comes from government grants.
Possible cutbacks would stem from the White House’s desire to eliminate the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which provides money for a variety of development and antipoverty programs, including Meals on Wheels.
The block grant programs “were just not showing any results,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said. “We can’t do that anymore.”
— The Trump budget would begin shifting air traffic control, now overseen by the FAA, to a private nonprofit company. The administration says it would make the system more “efficient and innovative.” The FAA would remain in charge of safety. Airlines have long sought the change, believing it would modernize the air traffic system. Canada privatized air traffic control in 1996.
— The budget would pump $1.4 billion into school choice programs, and set aside hundreds of millions of dollars for charter schools and a new private school choice program.