President Trump's proposed budget 'could result in layoffs'

Mythili Sampathkumar
US President Donald Trump attends a meeting about healthcare in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, DC: Getty Images

President Trump is set to announce the largest budget cuts in American history since the post-World War II scale back.

The 2018 fiscal year budget proposal calls for major cuts to programmes across the federal government in order to pay for increases in military and some national security spending increases.

The government is on track to spend nearly $4.1 trillion in the next fiscal year.

The White House confirmed that military spending would increase by $54 billion, with subsequent non-defence cuts in that amount.

President Trump said it would be “one of the largest increases in spending American history...and it will be fully paid for” during his first Cabinet meeting on 13 March.

Republican House of Representatives member Tom Cole of Oklahoma expressed concerns to Reuters that cuts to programmes like subsidised aid for disabled children and the elderly would put his fellow party members in a tough position.

Mr Cole said they are forced to choose between toeing the party line and supporting the President in his call for smaller government and keeping programmes and services popular with many constituents.

Currently, Republicans control both houses of Congress and are also discussing a replacement healthcare programme for Obamacare.

Among the more controversial budget slashing would be to the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding of cleanup for the Great Lakes which span Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania - states Mr Trump won during the 2016 election. Cuts would also have an effect on funding for sewage treatment facilities around the country.

Secretary Scott Pruitt has already drawn the ire of environmental scientists, claiming recently that humans are not the main cause of climate change.

A former Pentagon official, Assistant Secretary for Defence, Manpower and Reserve Affairs Todd A. Weiler told The Independent the proposed cuts to the Coast Guard would be "devastating," the US maritime security agency.

Mr Weiler said the proposed cuts are in direct opposition to the national security priorities of the Trump administration.

Other reports have indicated the proposed budget, to be announced on 16 March, will also include cuts to public broadcasting and global health assistance, administered through the US Agency for International Development at the State department.

With the deep cuts planned and an upcoming Executive Order to be signed on 13 March calling for a “reorganisation of the Executive Branch,” a source working on the budget on Capitol Hill told The Independent they expect layoffs to government workers as well.

Some in the president’s party feel that the proposed budget does not cut nearly enough, however.

House of Representatives member Mo Brooks of Alabama told Reuters that he is worried “the Trump budget will not be austere enough to minimise America’s risk of suffering.”

Mr Brooks fears the US will slip into a debt crisis like Venezuela, where inflation is skyrocketing and there is a shortage of even the most basic goods like milk.

Former Congressional Budget Office director Robert Reischauer told the Washington Post that the proposed cuts are not just a matter of cost-saving measures here and there, but that they would require “a wholesale triage of a vast array of federal activities.”

Two-thirds of the federal budget is dedicated to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and low income programmes and is not expected to change in the 16 March proposal.