These budget cuts could be politically costly for the Trump administration

These budget cuts could be politically costly for the Trump administration
President Donald Trump's proposed budget — slashing more than $50 billion in spending on nondefense programs — is likely to spark strong political opposition from Democrats.
PHOTO: Reuters

President Donald Trump's proposed budget - slashing more than US$50 billion (S$70 billion) in spending on nondefense programs - is likely to spark strong political opposition from Democrats.

"President Trump is not making anyone more secure with a budget that hollows out our economy and endangers working families," Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader (D-California), told reporters Thursday. "Throwing billions at defence while ransacking America's investments in jobs, education, clean energy and lifesaving medical research will leave our nation weakened."

Photo: CNBC

But the list of budget cuts includes some that will likely also face political pushback from Republicans, such as that of a 43-year-old popular programme that has allocated tens of billions of dollars of grants to states, counties and cities - in both red and blue states.

The Community Development Block Grant programme, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, helps state and local government fund a wide range of projects from housing to public services.

Photo: CNBC

At a time with many states struggling to balance their budgets, the loss of these grants will further widen funding gaps for both Republicans and Democrats. As of the last election, Republicans control 32 of the nation's state legislatures.

Despite the popularity of the programme with state and local officials, the Trump administration argues that the US$150 billion that has been spent during the programme's lifetime could be better spent elsewhere.

"The programme is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results," the Trump budget proposal said.

To win approval of the proposed US$3 billion in annual cuts to the programme, the Trump administration will have to convince a majority of the Senate to go along with the plan.

But Republican senators will likely face strong resistance from state and local officials, especially in states like Texas, Arizona, Louisiana and Alabama, which were among the programme's biggest beneficiaries in the latest fiscal year.

Photo: CNBC

Watch: This budget is 'heartless'

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