On February 23, President Donald Trump alerted the nation to his plan to drastically increase military spending by $54 billion,
The $54 billion that would be allocated toward military spending is expected to be taken from parts of the government that Trump sees as less necessary or salient, especially government programs tied to the environment or education are subject to extreme losses in funding.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will likely lose more than 50 programs and 3,200 jobs as a result of the reallocation of government funds. Among those 50 programs subject to cancellation is one especially close to the DC area: the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Program. According to the Washington Post, “Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate federal funding for the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest program to restore a body of water in US history.”
Also applicable to the Wilson community is the effect that the President’s proposal will have on the District as a whole. Many of the jobs that will be eliminated as a result of this reallocation of government funds are jobs held by DC residents and in many cases, people related to Wilson. Many students at Wilson have parents who hold federal government jobs, and Trump’s frequent insults toward the city, combined with the Republican Congress’ desire to shrink the federal government which is the city’s foremost employer, leaves DC in a dangerous position.
Particularly hard hitting to the urban area that the District is, is the sizeable cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Looking at a loss of 13 percent of its total budget and a $3 billion elimination from the Community Development Block Grant Program, HUD may be seeing profound changes in the coming year and following years.
Federal Government jobs relating to climate change are especially subject to change in coming years with regard to budget changes. Wilson sophomore Adam Friedman’s father Ben Friedman was able to shed light on how the budget changes may affect his work. Friedman is the Deputy Under-Secretary for Operations, Performing the Duties of NOAA Administrator. NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which deals with everything from, “the surface of the sun to the bottom of the ocean,” as it relates to the environment.
Friedman stressed the lack of finality in the President’s proposal due to the long and drawn out process that must be gone through before any budget changes such as the one proposed can be put in place.
“Nothing becomes final until Congress passes a budget, and the president signs it into law, so a lot can change between now and then,” said Friedman. “What you are seeing is the normal budget-making process. Until it’s complete, NOAA is operating under its current budget and continuing on as usual.”
The President’s proposal does pose an array of concerns, but for now it is just that: a proposal. Not until May is the final budget expected and even after that it could be months until the budget is finalized.•
IMAGE COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS