January 17, 2020
We must continue to fight for the same issues that Dr. King sought to change. Dr. King’s Day is a time to honor and remember Dr. King himself and his calls for justice as a civil rights leader.
If his budget proposal indicates his main priorities, then President Trump has signaled he's ready to cut thousands of American jobs. The recently released proposal makes it clear that the administration's hiring freeze and plans to “reorganize” agencies were just the first steps to radically dismantle government.
Besides calling for an elimination of 3,200 jobs and more than 50 programs at the EPA, the budget would eliminate dozens of grant programs at Education, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and other agencies. At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA, programs that study climate change would completely be wiped out.
Trump would also eliminate the following 19 agencies:
Not only would these cuts kill jobs at these agencies, they would kill jobs in local communities that depend on the government and its workforce. But Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Trump is simply trying to “drain the swamp.”
The winners of Trump’s first budget are not the American people, but instead oil and gas companies and profit-hungry corporations that want to make money off the basic needs of the American people.
For example, the budget calls for:
Commerce: Commerce’s budget would be slashed by 16 percent, or $1.5 billion. The proposal would eliminate the department’s Economic Development Administration and NOAA’s coastal research programs, including the popular Sea Grant program, that protects communities from rising seas and storms.
EPA: The Trump budget would slash EPA’s funding by 31 percent, or $2.6 billion, and would eliminate more than 20 percent of EPA’s workforce (about 3,200 jobs). Much of EPA’s work would be shifted to cash-strapped states and local governments. Funding for more than 50 programs would be eliminated, including programs restoring the health of the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay and the popular Energy Star program that has helped save businesses and homeowners more than $362 billion on their utility bills over the past 22 years. Budget would slash funding for cleaning up hazardous waste sites (Superfund sites) by 30 percent.
Defense: The budget would boost the Department of Defense funding by $52 billion , but funding is unlikely to be directed to support th civilian workforce.
HHS: Budget cuts NIH funding by $5.8 billion to $25.9 billion, or 18 percent, including a “rebalance” of federal contributions to research funding and a major reorganization of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) organizations and activities.
FEMA: Budget cuts or reduces state and local grant funding by $667 million for FEMA programs that help counter violent extremism and prepare for a wide-scale terrorist attack, help secure our transit ports, and help local communities prepare for natural hazards.
HUD: HUD would lose $6 billion in funding. The proposal eliminates the Community Development Block Grant program, which provides services such as meal assistance and cleaning up abandoned properties in low-income neighborhoods. The budget also eliminates programs that help millions of people realize the American dream of owning their own home.
Interior: The proposal cuts Interior’s budget by nearly $1.5 billion, or 12 percent. Offices that buy public lands would take a hit. Funding for National Historic Sites would be eliminated. The budget encourages “partnership” between the government and private corporations for programs related to wildlife conservation, historic preservation, and recreation grants.
Labor: The budget proposes a 21 percent cut overall, decreasing federal support for job training programs and shifting more of that responsibility onto state and local governments, and businesses themselves. It also eliminates an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) grant program to reduce safety risks and workplace hazards.
State: The budget seeks a whopping 28 percent cut in funding for State and USAID, which would seriously undermine the country’s diplomatic efforts and national security.
SBA: The budget cuts funding for the Small Business Administration by $43 million, or 5 percent. On the chopping block are technical grants and other programs.
Transportation: The plan calls for privatization of the FAA’s air traffic control function. There currently are 14,000 air traffic controllers. The budget would also end federal funding for Amtrak’s long-distance train service. DOT’s budget would be cut by 13 percent. This means less investment in railroads and airlines when we need it the most.
VA: VA’s budget would go up 6 percent, or $4.4 billion. But it also expands the private provider program, which will lead to further privatization of the VA.
Agriculture: The proposal would cut USDA’s budget by $4.7 billion. Even though it provides full funding for the Food Safety and Inspection Service, the agency would reduce staffing at various service centers.
TSA: Budget would eliminate the Behavior Detection Officer program, eliminate grants to state and local jurisdictions to fund local police patrols around TSA checkpoints, and reduce funding for a program that uses armed teams of highly trained agents to sweep transit locations.
“This budget shirks our nation’s responsibility to care for its citizens and ensure the public’s health and safety, help our struggling neighbors secure better jobs and safe housing, and promote democracy around the world,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr.
“These cuts, if implemented, would have devastating and lasting consequences on the nation," Cox said. "Every American should study the facts, reject the rhetoric, and decide for themselves if they share the bleak vision of America that President Trump is promoting.”
EPA employees are joining together to articulate a bold new vision for the agency through a 10-point EPA Workers’ Bill of Rights.
The first AFGE Veteran of the Year awardee is Roslyn Austin-Stewart, an Air Force veteran, out of Local 2429 in District 12! An award ceremony will be held during the union’s legislative conference next month.