California Leaders Slam Trump’s Plan To Cut Domestic Programs, Bolster Military

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Congressional leaders from California and across the country are condemning President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint released Thursday, which aims to increase U.S. military spending by cutting funding for community services, as well as funding for the arts, sciences, foreign aid and more.

After Trump unveiled a $1.15 trillion budget, that includes a $54 billion increase in defense spending through cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) described the budget as a “travesty for California.”

The White House has proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which runs National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting Service. The cuts would also likely impact funding for two of America’s top tourist landmarks: the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.

Feinstein said the president should not be “cutting vital investments in our communities and our economy.”

Feinstein said in a statement Thursday that the budget blueprint would deny federal funding for new transit projects, including the Caltrain Electrification project and Phase 2 of the BART Extension to Silicon Valley, as well as Phase 3 of the Purple Line Subway Extension in Los Angeles.

The budget would also eliminate funding that local governments currently rely on for infrastructure development, critical services and for building new affordable housing, according to Feinstein.

The Senator said proposed cuts would eliminate Homeland Security grants that support local and state law enforcement and would limit programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that aim to improve air and water quality across the country.

The budget proposes an additional $2.6 billion to go toward building a border wall with Mexico.

Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) also slammed the budget proposal, saying, it “would underfund national priorities and hurt working families. Investments in public education, research and development, the creative industries, and environmental protections support a vibrant and secure economy. Yet, the White House wants to ignore American values by initiating massive cuts to these programs.”

Rep. Khanna, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Budget Committee, said, “The strength of our nation is more than just our military might.”

Trump’s proposal to cut public media has been met with especially strong resistance Thursday.

PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger reminded Congress that, “The cost of public broadcasting is small, only $1.35 per citizen per year, and the benefits are tangible: increasing school readiness for kids 2-8, support for teachers and homeschoolers, lifelong learning, public safety communications and civil discourse.”

The budget also proposed eliminating legal aid and heating assistance for the poor, as well as the AmeriCorps national service program.

The National Institutes of Health would see a $5.8 billion cut under the proposal.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also chimed in Thursday, saying on Twitter “…sunlight is the best disinfectant. The President’s #TrumpCuts will not survive the light of day.”

But Democratic leaders in Congress aren’t alone in expressing their discontentment with the President’s budget blueprint. Republican leaders are also expressing their opposition.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said, “I strongly oppose the president’s budget request to eliminate funding for the #GreatLakes Restoration Initiative…” explaining that the initiative is critical for his state and generates more than $80 billion in benefits in recreation, health, fishing and tourism.

And U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Senate Budget Committee, addressed the significant foreign aid cuts proposed in the budget blueprint.

Corker said in a statement Thursday, “I believe we can strike an appropriate balance that recognizes the critical role of diplomacy in keeping our military out of harm’s way and appropriately advancing our nation’s interests while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used in the most efficient and effective manner.”

Trump writes in his proposal to Congress, “In these dangerous times, this public safety and national security Budget Blueprint is a message to the world — a message of American strength, security and resolve.”

And while Trump’s proposal to boost military spending will likely make the U.S. militarily stronger, reducing the budget of the U.S. State Department and reducing foreign aid may decrease America’s diplomatic strength.

By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.

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