While President Donald Trump’s first outline of spending priorities has plenty of targets for deep cuts across government, the math is a little more complicated at the economy-related federal agencies.
The president’s annual wish list known as the “skinny budget” -- which still has to go through the gargantuan approval process -- does have some telling nuggets about where the White House would like to shift funds. Below are some winners and losers in the Commerce, Labor and Treasury Departments, according to the plan released by the Office of Management and Budget Thursday.
The 2020 Decennial Census: Brent Moulton, who retired in December after more than three decades as a government statistician, was among those fearing the Census budget would go under the ax, threatening the accuracy of the constitutionally mandated tally of Americans. But Trump has proposed boosting the project’s funds, particularly for technology needed to gather the data.
Reemployment and Eligibility Assessments: These Labor Department-administered interviews with claimants of jobless benefits are intended to ensure that those requesting unemployment insurance remain eligible, and that the assistance provided is aiding a return to work. Trump is a fan, proposing to expand these programs. A DOL-commissioned report hailed their impact in June 2011.
Apprenticeships: Following on an Obama-era labor policy cornerstone, the Trump budget also plays up apprenticeships as “an evidence-based approach to preparing workers for jobs.” The Labor Department has overseen a boost to apprenticeships in the past several years.
Terrorism and Financial Intelligence: While this Treasury Department office isn’t explicitly named, the Trump budget plan “prioritizes funding for Treasury’s array of economic enforcement tools,” hinting that programs that freeze financial accounts of terrorists, for instance, will see a healthy boost.
Economic Development Administration: You might not immediately recognize this arm of the Commerce Department, and maybe that’s Trump’s point. The president wants to eliminate the 52-year-old agency, which provides grants in a bid to boost regional economies, but that the White House says are redundant and have limited impact.
Senior Community Service Employment Program: This Labor Department service, meant to help low-income unemployed seniors to get back to work, would be eliminated under the Trump budget. The White House claims as many as a third of participants don’t complete the program and only half the graduates make it to “unsubsidized” employment.
The Treasury workforce: The Treasury section of the Trump budget plan is again lacking in detail here, but the language is pretty clear that the department next door to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue will be seeing job cuts, with this pitch: Trump’s budget proposes to shrink “the Federal workforce and increases its efficiency by redirecting resources away from duplicative policy offices to staff that manage the Nation’s finances.”
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