On the same day that Department of Homeland Security justification documents were reported that indicate President Donald Trump wants nearly $1 billion to pay for his proposed border wall, the White House has sent a list of $18 billion worth of suggested spending cuts to Capitol Hill.
The cuts are wide-ranging but include programs like medical research, community development grants, and building new roads and bridges, according to a report by The New York Times. Because the list of suggested cuts are not being presented as official administration proposals but rather as "options" for congressional Republicans, they tell us more about where Trump would like to cut spending in order to pay for his border wall and Pentagon spending increases — as well as the fact that the administration is flexible in its approach to what it cuts.
These suggestions have been sent as Congress continues work on $1.1 trillion in incomplete spending bills that, if left unaddressed, could result in a government shutdown on April 28. This would be particularly if Senate Democrats choose to filibuster language that explicitly finances Trump's proposed border wall (which they have promised to do), as well as if many of the more draconian cuts included in the new suggestions remain in place.
The largest cut would occur in the Senate's Labor-Health and Human Services-Education subcommittee, which would see a $7.26 billion reduction to its budget primarily by cutting grant funding (such as mental health program and spending to the National Institutes of Health) and by eliminating programs like AmeriCorps. The next largest cut would be to the State and Foreign Operations subcommittee, including peacekeeping and foreign aid programs.
Other suggested spending cuts include:
- Department of Housing and Urban Development: $1.68 billion
- National Institutes of Health research grants: $1.2 billion
- Department of Agriculture: More than $1 billion
- TIGER grants (which fund transportation projects): $500 million
- Heat subsidies for low-income Americans: $372 million
- Environmental Protection Agency: $247 million
- McGovern-Dole International Food Program (which feeds millions of schoolchildren throughout the world): Entirely eliminated
- Trump's proposal may be little more than just a wish list, though.