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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

MA Politicians Criticize Trump’s ‘Budget Blueprint’


President Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.

On March 15, the Office of Management and Budget released the Trump administration’s new outline of the budget proposal for the fiscal year 2018. The plan is officially named “America First—A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” and it offers a first insight into the administration’s plans for the future.

However, rather than stating a detailed plan for the future budget and strategies on how to implement it, this blueprint merely presents a general idea of which areas will move into the focus of federal spending, and which programs or institution will be pushed to the margins and receive less financial support from the government than before.

According to the 62-page document, the departments that would see the largest increases in their spending capabilities are the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security in relation to their budget for immigration enforcement. Furthermore, the defense and public safety budget in general would see a major boost. Additionally, the proposal would also include “additional resources for a wall on the southern border,” as well as a higher number of immigration judges, attorneys, and border patrol officers.

In the introduction of the blueprint, President Donald Trump also promises that his plan “increases funding to address violent crime and reduces opioid abuse; and puts America first by keeping more of America’s hard-earned tax dollars here at home.”

On the other hand, Trump also announced that non-defense programs which are headed, for example, by the Department of Education, the Department of Health & Human Services or the Environmental Protection Agency, will see their spending reduced by $54 billion.

“We are going to do more with less, and make the government lean and accountable to the people.”

Apart from certain government agencies’ budgets, foreign aid will also shrink. “It is time to prioritize the security and well-being of Americans, and to ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share.”

While this blueprint was lauded by the White House and many Republicans, many other lawmakers and elected officials have criticized this plan for the negative effects that it will have on the public. Among the others who oppose to the blueprint are MA-elected officials such as Governor Charlie Baker (R), Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D), Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D), and Senator Ed Markey (D).

In an interview with Boston Public Radio on March 16, Governor Baker talked about Trump’s budget blueprint, stating that, in particular, the $5.8 billion budget cut from the National Institute of Health (NIH), the national medical research agency, is “alarming” to him. Considering that Massachusetts is home to many well-known medical facilities, schools, and research facilities, the negative effects regarding medical progress could be far-reaching for the country.

“It’s not just bad for Massachusetts, it’s bad for the country,” Baker added.

In an official statement on March 16, Congressman Kennedy voiced his opposition to the budget cuts, saying that the blueprint represents a “cold shoulder” to Americans in need of support by the government.

“A government that does not invest in her people does not put America first. President Trump’s budget reinforces inequities in our classrooms, our courtrooms, our behavioral health centers and every community across this country,” said Kennedy.

Congresswoman Tsongas said in a statement, “The President’s irresponsible approach to budgeting will make severe cuts to some of our nation’s most critical programs and agencies, negatively impacting the progress we’ve seen over the past eight years in critical areas like job training, foreign policy, housing, education, addressing climate change and more.”

Senator Markey called Trump’s budget plans “the real March Madness,” and pointed out that “the Trump budget brackets are rigged to make winners out of defense contractors and nuclear bomb makers, while seniors, working families, and the environment have no chance to win.”

Furthermore, the Senator stated, “Democrats will continue to fight for a budget that isn’t balanced on the backs of the hardest working and the most vulnerable.”