Administration Proposes 5% Budget Cut to Agencies
Due to increasing federal budget deficits announced in October, the Trump Administration is proposing to cut 5% off of federal agencies’ bottom lines. The federal deficit climbed to $779 billion in FY 2018, which was a 17% increase over the previous year.
With regard to the Department of Agriculture (USDA), a spokesman stated that “USDA stands with the president and his goal of being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars.” Secretary Sonny Perdue doubled down in a statement after the announcement, stating that USDA would “be able to meet greater than the five percent target.” Ongoing USDA actions, such as the proposed reorganization of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture outside of Washington, D.C., are seen as a cost cutting measure by some, while USDA states this will result in better efficiency and closer proximity to stakeholders.
Despite similar administration promises to cut agency budgets in the past, Congress has not gone along with these recommendations, funding agencies at increased levels for 2017 and 2018 – with some agencies already seeing spending increases for 2019.
Concern over federal deficits comes amid the specter of an ever-increasing national debt, which currently stands at $21 trillion. Interest payments alone are on track to hit $390 billion next year. The Administration will release its 2020 fiscal blueprint in February.