CHN: Select Trump Administration FY20 Departmental Budget Requests

The Coalition on Human Needs compiled information from the President’s FY20 budget request for select government departments that most directly impact low-income and other disadvantaged populations, including the Department of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor, as well as other areas of note.

Department of Agriculture:

In addition to supporting rural and agricultural programs, the Department of Agriculture’s budget funds a variety of nutrition assistance programs for people with low incomes. The proposed budget would cut USDA’s discretionary budget by 13 percent from FY19 to FY20.

President Trump’s budget calls for massive cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/food stamps of more than $220 billion over 10 years. These cuts are achieved in part by reviving the widely ridiculed proposal from his FY19 budget to replace some of the debit card assistance SNAP recipients currently receive with boxes of non-perishable food items that would be administratively costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and would not allow families to choose the foods they need. The budget would also tighten restrictions on unemployed and underemployed SNAP recipients who can’t document sufficient weekly work hours, which would take food away from an estimated 755,000 people. In addition, the budget eliminates SNAP nutrition education funding and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which distributes food boxes to low-income home-bound seniors.

According to the Food Research & Action Center, the President’s fiscal year 2020 budget cuts child nutrition programs by $1.7 billion over the next 10 years. It reduces the number of schools eligible to implement the Community Eligibility Program, an option that reduces the administrative work of operating the school nutrition programs for high-poverty schools.

The budget includes $5.8 billion in funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which constitutes a 4.5 percent ($275 million) reduction in WIC funding from the FY 2019 appropriated level. The National WIC Association is advocating for a small increase to $6.15 billion in total WIC funding.

For more information, see pieces from the Food Research & Action Center, the National WIC Association, and the budget summary from the Department of Agriculture.


Department of Education:

President Trump’s proposed budget would make college more costly for low- and moderate-income students and their families, would flat-fund or cut various K-12 programs, and diverts billions of dollars into support for private K-12 schools. The proposed budget would cut the Department of Education’s budget by $8.5 billion, or 12 percent below the FY19 level, to $62 billion. All told, 29 discretionary programs throughout the Department of Education would be eliminated.

The President’s proposal would slash student aid for higher education by $207 billion over 10 years, eliminate Subsidized Stafford loans, and eliminate Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The budget would also eliminate the GEAR UP program, which supports low-income students from high school into their first year of college, and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants that augment Pell Grants for more than a million of the neediest college students. The TRIO program would be turned into a State formula grant.

The annually-appropriated funding for Pell Grants would support a maximum annual grant of $6,195. The budget would expand Pell eligibility to certain short-term certification programs. The Federal Work Study program would be cut by more than half, from $1.1 billion to $500 million. Funding for adult education state grants that help foundation skills and English literacy instruction to over 1.5 million individuals is cut by $156.1 million, or more than 24 percent. Perkins career and technical education state grants, which support post-secondary education for more than 12 million students, are flat-funded from FY19.

In K-12 education programs, the budget provides level funding from FY19 for Title I low-income schools. It eliminates $190 million in literacy instruction grants to states. The Trump budget level funds K-12 special education (IDEA programs). It zeroes out the modest $17.6 million appropriation for the Special Olympics. Funding would be eliminated for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which provide before-school, after-school, and summer school programs for nearly 2 million children. The budget includes a proposal to implement a private school scholarship tax credit of up to $50 billion over 10 years, an increased effort to subsidize private school attendance that critics say would divert resources from improving education for low-income students.

The Center for American Progress has state-by-state impacts of some of the K-12 cuts in the Trump budget. For more information, see the National Skills Coalition and the budget summary from the Department of Education.


Department of Health and Human Services:

While the vast majority of the budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides funds for Medicare and Medicaid, the agency covers a wide variety of programs, from the Affordable Care Act and medical research to child care and vital community services for low-income people. The President’s proposal cuts the HHS FY20 budget by 12 percent.

Several important programs and services are eliminated in the Trump budget, including the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), which provides operating expenses for roughly 1,100 poverty-fighting community action agencies, the Social Services Block Grant, which funds services for low-income children, families, and seniors, and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides heating and cooling assistance to about 6 million low-income households.

The Trump proposal would cut Medicaid by $1.5 trillion and Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace subsidies by $478 billion over 10 years. It would create a $1.2 trillion block grant to replace the ACA, leaving a net cut to Medicaid and ACA of $777 billion over ten years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. It would do this primarily by repealing the ACA and replacing it with a bill similar to the former Graham-Cassidy proposal, under which millions of Americans would lose health coverage. The budget would repeal the ACA’s Medicaid expansion; to date, 37 states have expanded Medicaid, which has resulted in coverage for 17 million newly eligible adults. The budget would give states the option of accepting federal Medicaid dollars in the form of inadequate block grants or per capita caps in exchange for more authority to restrict eligibility or benefits or to increase payments by low-income beneficiaries. These proposals would end the ACA’s nationwide protections for people with pre-existing conditions, cause millions more people to become uninsured, and increase costs and otherwise impede access to health care for millions more.

The budget proposes various ways of achieving Medicaid cuts, such as increased documentation requirements to prove immigration/citizenship status, re-imposing asset tests, and making it harder for some seniors and people with disabilities to qualify for Medicaid without selling their homes. Medicaid would also be taken away from adults who can’t document sufficient weekly work hours, which could cause 1.7 million people to lose coverage. The budget estimates the work reporting rules will result in a $130 billion cut in Medicaid costs over 10 years.

The budget also proposes nearly $600 billion in net Medicare spending reductions over 10 years. Most of the proposals would reduce payments to health care providers, but prescription drug costs for seniors in the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage would increase, costing $75 billion over 10 years. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is estimated to spend $1.752 billion less in FY 2020 than in the current year because an enhanced federal match rate to states is scheduled to drop from a maximum of 23 percentage points to 11.5 percentage points.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is cut by more than $21 billion, or 10 percent, over 10 years. The basic block grant, which had been flat-funded since TANF’s inception in 1996, is cut by $1.4 billion in FY 2020. In addition, the TANF Contingency Fund is almost eliminated (dropping from $597 million to $63 million in FY 2020). Originally designed for states to tap if economic conditions cause an increase in eligible families, the Contingency Fund has not proved usable for most states.

The budget includes a one-time, $1 billion mandatory investment for states to encourage private sector investment in child care, but the proposal would require states to roll back basic protections that keep children safe to get the funding. Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant are level funded at FY19 levels. However, as noted elsewhere in this Human Needs Report, the $1.2 billion afterschool program 21st Century Community Learning Centers, as well as the Social Services Block Grant, which provides child care, senior care and other family services, are slated for elimination.

The Child Support Enforcement Program would be cut by $1.7 billion over 10 years. It would incorporate a work requirement for noncustodial parents overdue in their child support payments, and would allow limited federal funding to support employment and training services for these parents.

For more information, see this piece from Families USA, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the budget summary from the Department of Health and Human Services.


Department of Housing and Urban Development:

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Administration proposes to cut HUD’s budget by $9.6 billion, or 18 percent below 2019 enacted levels.

President Trump’s budget would slash or eliminate many critical low-income housing programs and increase rents and impose harmful work reporting requirement on struggling families. The proposal would eliminate essential housing and community development programs like the National Housing Trust Fund, which supports rental housing for low-income renters such as seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and households that have experienced homelessness, and the Public Housing Capital Fund, which is needed to maintain units. The budget would move towards dismantling public housing developments, seeking to sell them off to landlords who would get voucher subsidies (but without enough funds for vouchers to sustain such a shift). Also slated for elimination in the proposal are the Choice Neighborhoods program, the Community Development Block Grant, and the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which together aid low-income communities in improving basic infrastructure, providing services to youth and seniors, rehabilitating housing, and promoting economic development. It proposes to eliminate the Indian Community Development Block Grant and cut the Native American Housing Block Grant by 20 percent.

In addition, the proposed HUD budget would cut funding for Rental Assistance Programs, including Housing Choice Vouchers, Public Housing, Project-Based Rental Assistance, and Housing for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities, by 11 percent. The budget would also impose harmful rent increases and harsh work reporting requirements. It would increase the amount of rent paid by non-elderly, non-disabled tenants from 30 percent of adjusted income to 35 percent of gross income, triple minimum rents paid by some, and eliminate deductions that help seniors and people with disabilities. According to the National Alliance of HUD Tenants, rents would jump an average of 20 percent for 4.6 million households. The proposal also allows housing providers to impose harsh work reporting requirements, without providing resources to help people gain needed skills or employment.

For more information, see the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the National Alliance of HUD Tenants, and the budget summary from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Department of Labor:

The proposed budget would cut the Labor Department’s discretionary budget by 9.7 percent, or nearly $1.2 billion, from FY19 to FY20.

As the National Skills Coalition reports, the President’s budget requests level funding for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I state formula grants, which help people with barriers to work gain new skills and find employment. The budget would cut $86 million – or nearly 40 percent – from National Dislocated Worker national grants, $15 million (15.9 percent) from Reentry Employment Opportunities and $5 million (5.5 percent) from YouthBuild. It would eliminate funding for Indian and Native American Programs and Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Programs (also known as the National Farmworker Jobs Program), which provides workforce and development and employment assistance for migrant and seasonal farmworkers to help them prepare for stable, year-round employment. The Senior Community Service Employment Program, which helps low-income senior citizens find work, would also be eliminated.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy is cut by more than $11 million, or more than 29 percent, from FY19 to FY20. The budget requests $160 million for Apprenticeship programs, the same amount appropriated in FY19. Funding for the Women’s Bureau is slashed by 74 percent.

For more information, see an analysis from the National Skills Coalition and the budget summary from the Department of Labor. 


Other Areas of Note

The budget also contains other moves that advocates oppose for departments not listed above.

The Trump blueprint calls for $7.2 billion in FY20 for the entire Census Bureau, even though Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said that the Bureau would need $7.4 billion in FY20 for the 2020 Decennial Census alone, not to mention the 100+ other economic and household surveys the Census Bureau oversees. Census experts have estimated that approximately $8 billion in FY20 is needed to carry out the 2020 Census, plus additional funds for the rest of the Census Bureau’s surveys. The amount proposed in the budget is shockingly inadequate, and would be expected to result in an inaccurate count (made far worse if the citizenship question sought by the Trump Administration is ruled allowable by the Supreme Court).

The Trump budget would slash $84 billion over the coming decade from federal disability programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

The Trump Administration’s efforts to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continue with this budget proposal. Funding for the CFPB would be made subject to the appropriations process (rather than receiving money from the Federal Reserve, as it currently does) in 2021 and then be almost completely zeroed out. Funding for FY20 would be cut back to FY15 levels.

The Legal Services Corporation would be eliminated, ending federal support for civil legal assistance for low-income people with housing, domestic violence, employment, consumer, or other legal trouble. Also eliminated would be the Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs programs including AmeriCorps, VISTA, and Senior Corps.

The Environmental Protection Agency would see its budget slashed by 31 percent under the Trump blueprint.

The budget requests $8.6 billion for the construction of a border wall. It also requests funding for 60,000 immigrant detention beds, including 10,000 family detention beds, and 15,000 new DHS law enforcement officers.

The budget also eliminates the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, and D.C. Tuition Assistance Grants.

The budget would require a Social Security number that is valid for employment to claim the Child Tax Credit. This would deny this assistance to certain immigrant families, most of whose children are U.S. citizens.

The Department of Transportation would see a 19 percent budget cut.

border wall
child nutrition
education and labor
health care
Housing and Homelessness
tax policy