Trump likely to propose deep cuts in 2018 budget this week

By Philip Brasher, AgriPulse.

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2017 - President Trump this week will release a proposed budget for fiscal 2018 that is expected to call for deep cuts to agencies throughout the government to pay for a $54 billion increase in defense spending.

According to reports, the proposed cuts could be as high as 37 percent, for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, while the EPA could be reduced by 25 percent.

The budget, which the White House will release on Thursday, is almost certainly dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, but the recommendations will highlight the stark choices that lawmakers face if they want to increase defense spending without touching entitlement programs and boosting the budget deficit.

Such deep cuts would pose a particular problem for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who says he’s committed to accelerating the approval process for pesticides and other products while also protecting EPA’s water infrastructure funding programs, which account for more than 40 percent of its budget.

One of Trump’s pending cabinet nominees who is important to agriculture will have his confirmation hearing this week, Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s pick for U.S. Trade Representative. Another hearing planned Wednesday for Labor nominee Alexander Acosta has been postponed until March 22.