On Monday, March 11, 2019, President Donald Trump released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020 which starts on October 1, 2019. The budget is not an actual piece of legislation, but instead serves as an overview of the Trump administration’s policy positions, goals, and priorities.
The House and the Senate will now prepare budget resolutions to help guide spending. Once Congress has a single budget resolution setting discretionary spending levels, the 12 Appropriations Subcommittees in the House and Senate will work to finalize their respective bills to determine specific funding amounts for federal agencies and programs. With Democrats now controlling the House of Representatives, much more compromise will be needed to keep the government funded as of October 1.
Top Budgetary Priorities that Impact Mobility
- Increased Border Security – The budget proposal calls for an additional $8.6 billion in funding to cover the building of a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border. Funds would also cover the hiring of more than 2,800 federal law enforcement officers to work on immigration.
- Increased H-1B Visa Fee – The budget proposes doubling the H-1B Visa program fee.
- Modernizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – The budget requests $290 million for the IRS’s multiyear modernization efforts and proposes $15 billion in additional funding to “expand and strengthen tax enforcement.” The Administration believes that this investment would yield an additional $47 billion in revenue.
- Promoting Free and Fair Trade – There is $16 million included to support President Trump’s trade agenda. This budget item also calls for the establishment of a new initiative within the International Trade Administration to “counter the circumvention or evasion of U.S. trade actions aimed at those who engage in unfair and illegal trade practices.”
- Transportation Funding Safety – The budget includes money to improve highway safety and modernize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which would help people move throughout the country more efficiently and safely. On the other hand, the budget also includes cuts to Amtrak and other commuter rail programs.
- Decreased Funding for Clean Energy Initiatives – The budget proposes a significant cut to the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE). The budget also increases funding for Department of the Interior programs that would develop energy on public lands and offshore waters. The Environmental Protection Agency also faces a proposed 31% ($2.7 billion) budget cut.
- Increased Military Spending – President Trump’s budget proposal calls for a huge increase of $33 billon (5% more than FY 2019) for the Department of Defense. Among other things, the proposal requests funding for the creation of the United States Space Force (USSF), often discussed by President Trump.
- Cuts to International Aid – The budget proposes a 23% ($12.3 billion) cut to the U.S. State Department, responsible for diplomacy and providing foreign aid.
- Entitlement Programs Under Fire – The budget proposal calls for substantial cuts to both Medicare and Medicaid programs. The budget would eliminate funding for the Medicaid expansion passed in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), something that 36 states and the District of Columbia have already implemented. The budget also calls for large cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), through which low-income Americans can receive food assistance.
With control of Congress split between Democrats and Republicans, it is unlikely that any of these budgetary proposals will be passed exactly as written. The next step is for Congress to start drafting individual appropriations bills to keep the government funded in FY2020. Worldwide ERC® will continue to provide updates on this process, providing periodic reports on potential impact to the mobility industry.