President Trump Releases Proposed Budget for FY 2018

March 17, 2017

President Donald Trump released his first budget proposal [PDF] on March 16, 2017, titled, America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again. The $1,065.4 billion dollar budget proposal is $3.3 billion lower than what was enacted under the fiscal year (FY) 2017 continuing resolution (CR). It would cut the budget of the U.S. Department of Education by 13.5% and the budget of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by 16.2%, including a $5.8 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The federal budget process requires the president to submit a proposal each year; however, it is up to Congress to enact a budget and approve appropriations for each department and agency. Congress needs to complete this process for FY 2018 by September 30, 2017. Congressional budget writers will now consider the president's request and craft their own budget outline. Although the budget writers can follow the president’s request, the Constitution clearly places spending decisions with Congress.

Background

Schools

The proposed budget increases investments in public and private school choice by $1.4 billion compared to the 2017 annualized CR level. According to the budget request, "This additional investment in 2018 includes a $168 million increase for charter schools, $250 million for a new private school choice program, and a $1 billion increase for Title I, dedicated to encouraging districts to adopt a system of student-based budgeting and open enrollment that enables federal, state, and local funding to follow the student to the public school of his or her choice."

President Trump's budget request maintains approximately $13 billion in funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs to support students with special education needs.

Researchers

ASHA members who conduct research should pay close attention to the reduced request for NIH funding. The proposed budget reduced NIH's funding to $25.9 billion. The proposed budget includes a major reorganization of NIH's institutes and centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities, including eliminating the Fogarty International Center, consolidating the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality within NIH, and other consolidations and structural changes across NIH organizations and activities. The proposed budget also reduces administrative costs and rebalances federal contributions to research funding.

Health Care Professionals and Universities

Funding levels for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are addressed in a vaguely written section of the proposed budget stating that the Administration wishes to eliminate $403 million in health care professions and nursing training programs. The document attributes this cut to a lack of evidence that these professions and programs significantly improve the nation's health care workforce. The section does not give any specifics about which professions or programs the Administration plans to cut other than the mention of nurses. The Administration would continue to fund health care workforce activities that provide scholarships and loan repayments in exchange for service in areas of the United States where there is a shortage of health care professionals.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

The president’s proposed budget calls for an increase of $4.4 billion (6%) in discretionary funding for the VA. Most of the money is earmarked for improving patient access and timeliness of medical care services for veterans. Further, this budget proposal extends and appropriates funds for the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to seek care either at the VA or through a private provider.

ASHA Resources

ASHA Government Relations and Public Policy staff members are closely reviewing the budget proposal and are following its progress in Congress. ASHA members will be updated on key areas in the coming weeks. For questions or comments, please contact Neil Snyder, ASHA's director of federal advocacy, at [email protected] or 202-624-7750.


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