President Trump submits his fiscal 2018 budget request to Congress

e-mail icon

Contact: Jared King
Communications Director
202-682-7390

For Immediate Release

President Trump submits his fiscal 2018 budget request to Congress

WASHINGTON—On May 23, President Trump unveiled his $4.1 trillion fiscal 2018 budget request to Congress. Trump’s budget request has been characterized broadly as including cuts to domestic spending and increases in some military spending. Trump’s proposed cuts includes across the board cuts for Indian programs.

Congressional Democrats criticized the budget and characterized it as cutting programs for the poor in order to finance tax breaks for the wealthy. Congressional Republicans were predictably more welcoming of the budget, but indicated that the president’s budget is primarily a starting point for negotiation and that they ultimately have the power of the purse. In fiscal 2017, Congress sidestepped the Trump Administration’s proposed budget – given this precedent, it’s possible they may do the same for fiscal 2018.

The Trump budget proposes $11.7 billion for the U.S. Department of the Interior; this is a significant cut of about $600 million from the fiscal 2017 continuing resolution (CR) levels.

The Interior budget includes $2.61 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which is approximately a $304 million decrease from fiscal 2017 CR levels. The line items that had the largest proposed cuts include $181 million in Operation of Indian Programs, $50 million in construction and $35 million in both contract support costs and Indian land and water settlements. There is also a cut of $21.4 million to the law enforcement budget.

Despite the $304 million reduction, Interior’s press release indicated that the budget supports the administration’s focus on infrastructure with proposed increases totaling $12.3 million, including $3.8 million for programs in the Operation of Indian Programs account.

The proposed Interior budget included $4 million for Navajo Nation Water Development Resources Trust Fund, which is level funding since fiscal 2016.

The budget request for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project in the Interior BIA budget is $8.98 million, which is level with fiscal 2017 CR and, within the Bureau of Reclamation. The project’s proposed budget is $67.8 million, which is a $21.7 million decrease from the fiscal 2017 CR level of $89.5 million. The budget includes an additional $2.6 million for irrigation project operations and maintenance. The Navajo Indian Irrigation Project (NIIP) request was $143.3 million; this is a $48.7 million decrease from the fiscal 2017 level of $192 million. The Indian Guaranteed Loan Program request is $6.7 million, which is a $1 million decrease from fiscal 2017.

The budget also proposes $786.4 million for the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), which is approximately a $64.4 million decrease from fiscal 2017. Contrary to the focus on infrastructure, the budget also proposes $80.2 million for education construction, a $57.8 million decrease from 2017. This funding will be used to complete construction projects on the 2004 school replacement priority list and the “design” phase for the 10 schools identified on the 2016 school replacement list.

Additional BIE reductions include proposed funding decreases to the following programs: Early Childhood and Family Development ($7.7 million decrease), Education program enhancements ($5.8 million decrease), Johnson O’Malley Assistance Grants ($4.6 million decrease), ISEP Program Adjustments ($2.4 million decrease), and Tribal Education Departments ($1 million decrease).

The U.S. Department of Education budget requests $143.7 million for Indian education, which is the same as 2017 CR levels. The administration requests $37.9 million for Special Programs for Indian Children – this supports the Native Youth Community Projects. The proposed budget continues to fund national activities at $5.6 million, which provides grant funding for activities such as Native language immersion programs and State-Tribal Education Partnerships.

The budget requests $4.7 billion for Indian Health Service (IHS), which is a decrease of $59 million. The largest proposed cuts were requested in facilities construction and maintenance, which was about $75.3 million decrease. 

The budget requests $14.97 million for the Office of Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation, which is a slight decrease of $461,000. There is no reference to a shutdown in the request.

The budget requests $600 million for the Native American Housing Block Grant Program, which is a $50 million dollar decrease from 2017 CR levels.

The president’s proposed budget eliminates the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program as well as the Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Program.

HUD will carry forward balances of prior year subsidy budget authority sufficient to guarantee up to $1.78 billion in loans in fiscal 2018 under the Indian Housing Loan Guarantee program (also known as the Section 184 program); therefore, the president’s budget did not request new appropriation of budget authority. The request is $7.5 million less than the fiscal 2017 CR level.

The budget maintained $7 million request for the Tribal HUD-VASH Program.

The budget request for the U.S. Department of Justice is $27.7 billion. This is 3.8 percent decrease from fiscal 2017 CR levels of $28.8 billion. Of this amount, $5.1 billion in discretionary and mandatory requests is for state, local, and tribal law enforcement, including specific discretionary enhancements of $107 million, which overall is a decrease of $556 million from fiscal 2017 CR levels of $5.6 billion.

The budget request for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) totals $218 million, which is an increase of $31.4 million from fiscal 2017 CR level of $186.6 million. This includes a $20.4 million enhancement for the COPS Hiring Program and from this budget $30 million for COPS tribal law enforcement.

Additionally, there will be $3 million available to support the Tribal Law and Order Act’s recommendation for access to federal criminal information databases and system.

In regards to the U.S. Department of Transportation, their budget request for the Tribal Transportation Program is $485 million, which is an increase of $10 million over the fiscal 2017 level. The budget request also proposes to eliminate funding for the TIGER grant.

In regards to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the budget request is $5.7 billion, which is a significant $2.6 billion decrease from the estimated enacted level of $8.2 billion. In addition, $2.9 billion for State and Tribal Assistance Grants, which is an approximately a $594 million decrease in the fiscal 2017 level of $3.527 billion.

The budget request for the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs is $10 million, which is a $6 million decrease in the fiscal 2017 level of $16 million. The budget also estimated that the Navajo Generating Station will cost $163 million to operate and maintain and the estimated power sales to be $58.4 million.

With regards to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), their budget proposes to terminate the Water and Waste Disposal Program. In addition, $27 million is requested for Rural Development Broadband loans, which is level funding from fiscal 2017 and $345 million for Telecommunications Direct Federal Financing Bank, which is level funding from fiscal 2017. The budget also eliminates funding for the Rural Development Broadband grants – this results in a $10 million decrease from fiscal 2017. The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations budget is proposed to be increased by $2 million to $153 million due to an expected increase in participants.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s budget requests to eliminate funding for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and proposes to a cancel $47 million of unobligated and de-obligated EDA balances made available in prior years. The budget requests to eliminate funding for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and to closeout $6 million beginning in fiscal 2018.

On May 16, Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez provided testimony on the Navajo Nation’s fiscal 2018 budget request before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies requesting the subcommittee to hold the line against any proposed cuts.

### 

Thumbnail Image: