The Administration is expected to release the 2018 budget on Tuesday, May 23. That budget will provide the specifics of the significant cuts the President had proposed in March. It should also shine some light on other parts of the President’s proposals including his tax cut package and possible government reorganization and reductions. The 2018 budget would absorb significant cuts based on both current law and the additional changes the Administration is seeking.
SSBG is almost certain to be a target for elimination as part of several mandatory and entitlement cuts. (For information on SSBG see below).
For starters, the previous 2011 budget caps go back into effect after a two-year (2016-17) reprieve. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Member, Senate Appropriations Committee released a letter and calculation on Wednesday that indicates that just to get back to those caps, 2018 non-defense spending will be cut by just under $16 billion. On top of that if the President Trump proposed reduction of $54 billion is included, Senator Leahy calculates you would need an across-the-board set of cuts that would total over 13 percent.
One of the arguments that coalitions, such as the Children’s Budget Coalition, which CWLA belongs to, has advocated for is that parity between non-defense discretionary (NDD) and defense spending must be maintained because Congress is always willing to increase defense budgets. There are indications however that Congressional leaders feel they have solved the issue of increasing defense spending without a comparable increase in non-defense spending by simply providing funds through the emergency war fund: the overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding pool.
One of the likely hits are the education budget. A document obtained by the Washington Post indicates that the education budget will be cut by 13 percent, with the elimination of the 21st Century Learning Centers afterschool program eliminated, a $700 million cut to low income student loans and the elimination of a ten-year loan forgiveness program that is just set to start to pay off next year. That loan program allows forgiveness of college loans if a student works in a profession for ten years, pays their loans in good faith over the ten years with the remainder of their loan forgiven. The loan program was part of the Higher Education Act in 2007 and covers several professions including social workers working for child welfare agencies. According to the Post report, over 557,000 people across professions are eligible.
There does seem to be a growing consensus that the Congress will again fail to complete appropriations by the start of the fiscal year on October 1. That makes a continuing resolution a near certainty. Some members are saying so publicly with Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) and chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water saying in a hearing last week “The rest of the appropriators and chairmen will probably kill me, but, I think we’re into a CR for 2018.”