President Trump’s preliminary budget for FY ’18 includes significant cuts to many programs and the elimination of some agencies that impact the African-American community. The president has proposed a significant increase in discretionary spending for the Department of Defense, a $52 billion increase over FY ’17 levels. These are, in fact, preliminary proposals and ultimately it is not the president who will determine budget outlays, but Congress after intense hearings and discussions. Citizens have the opportunity to voice their concerns to their elected representatives in the House and Senate, and those representatives that serve on key congressional committees with oversight responsibility over key areas of federal public policy or departments.
Here are just some of the cuts that we are tracking and will be reporting on during budget hearings. Keep checking our Facebook page as we will post any pertinent information regarding the FY ’18 federal budget.
Department of Commerce
Minority Business Development Agency - $32 million
This is a key agency that provides support for minority business development and aids in the growth of minority-owned small businesses across the country.
Department of Agriculture
McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program - $202 million
This programs supports the nutrition of school children in developing countries who might experience limited food options; a scenario that many suggests affects learning. Trump Budget Director Mick Mulvaney stated the program “lacks the evidence that it is being effectively implemented to reduce food insecurity.”
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Community Development Block Grant Program - $3 Billion
This is a 42-year old program that gives flexibility to local grantees to target spending toward specific needs of communities.
Department of Education
21st Century Community-Learning Centers program - $1.2 Billion
This program provides formula-driven grants to states for before-school and after-school programs. These programs are vital in many communities and provide additional support to students in need as well as safe spaces in areas where unattended children are at-risk.
Strivers Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program - $190 million
The Strivers program offers grants targeting students with learning disabilities or limited English proficiency. Given the obvious connection between literacy and learning, this program has tremendous value.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program (SEOG) - $732 million
Provides up to $4,000 a year to college students based on financial need. Given the rising costs of a college education and the increasing student loan debt load of American college students, this is a cut that could alter the trajectory of many college students.
Department of Health and Human Services
Community Service Block Grants - $715 million
An anti-poverty grant that, given the degree to which communities of color are disproportionately experiencing economic insecurity, is an important source of funding for efforts to address poverty.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) - $3.4 billion
LIHEAP helps the elderly and low-income pay heating and power bills and is an important form of assistance when choices are made between paying utility bills, the rent or mortgage and food. This is a significant support for those on fixed incomes.
Department of State
Global Climate Change Initiative - $1.3 billion
One of the challenges citizens face with the Trump administration is its insistence that climate change is not occurring, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. By pulling out of global climate change initiatives, the Trump administration is jeopardizing the health of American citizens and enabling abusers of the environment to continue their recklessness.
Department of the Treasury
Community Development Financial Institutions - $210 million
These are grants to support community banks and credit unions. At a time when the African-American community is still reeling from home foreclosures related to the subprime mortgage debacle and continue to be victimized by the predatory lending practices of commercial banks, pulling support from alternative financial institutions will only compound the crisis.
Corporation for National and Community Service ($771 million): This the agency that administers the Americorps community service program, an important volunteer initiative and training program for young people.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting ($485 million): CPB supports public television and radio stations, including the PBS television network and, indirectly, National Public Radio. These cuts could also affect college radio stations across the country.
Delta Regional Authority ($45 million): An economic development agency for the eight-state Mississippi Delta region.
African Development Foundation ($26 million): This is an independent foreign aid agency focusing on economic development in Africa. With expected cuts in the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. AID), these cuts will affect those African nations, particularly in the southern half of the continent, working to raise the standard of living for their citizens.
Legal Services Corp. ($366 million): This is a 43-year-old organization, chartered by Congress, that helps provide free civil legal advice to poor people. The importance of Legal Services cannot be overstated as too often poor people experience negative outcomes in courtrooms simply because they did not have proper legal representation.
National Endowment for the Arts ($152 million): This is a low-cost and high value agency that encourages participation in the arts. With many communities and school districts unable to bring the arts to the public, the NEA has been an unquestionable asset to the nation.
National Endowment for the Humanities ($155 million): Much like the NEA, this agency offers high value at a very low cost by supporting scholarships for literature and culture.
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. ($175 million): This agency is known as Neighborworks America, and supports local affordable housing programs.
Institute of Museum and Library Services ($231 million): The Institute provides money to the nation's 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums; a critical source of support at a time when many communities are struggling to sustain these institutions.