March 23, 2017

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOVERNANCE AND POLITICS:

Eyeing Trump's Budget Plan, Republican Governors Say 'No, Thanks' (ALEXANDER BURNS, MARCH 22, 2017, NY Times)

As Mr. Trump and his advisers press for bone-deep cuts to the federal budget, Republican governors have rapidly emerged as an influential bloc of opposition. They have complained to the White House about reductions they see as harmful or arbitrary, and they plan to pressure members of Congress from their states to oppose them.

Of acute concern to Republicans are a handful of low-profile programs aimed at job training and economic revitalization, including regional development agencies like the Appalachian commission and the Delta Regional Authority, which serves eight Southern and Midwestern states, seven of them with Republican governors. They are also protective of grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a $3.4 billion job training program funded through the Labor Department.

Mr. Trump's budget office has proposed to eliminate or deeply slash funding for all of those programs, along with dozens of others.

Kim S. Rueben, a budget expert at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, said the retrenchment in Mr. Trump's spending plan appeared to be significantly out of step with his campaign promises to use the federal government as a machine for creating jobs, especially in distressed Midwestern and rural areas.

"It just seems like you're going after places that are so pivotal to what you are arguing you wanted to do for your base," Ms. Rueben said of Mr. Trump's budget. "They're cutting all sorts of infrastructure projects and economic development projects at the same time that the president is still talking about how much of an investment he's going to put into infrastructure."

The White House's proposed cuts would be felt in matters well beyond economic development: A budget briefing circulated last week by the National Governors Association, a nonpartisan group, identified a long list of Trump-backed cuts to programs that support states. They include the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a $3 billion project in the Department of Health and Human Services that helps people pay for heating and air-conditioning, and the Community Development Block Grant program, a $3 billion initiative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development that funds local projects from affordable housing to Meals on Wheels.

A budget briefing circulated last week by the National Governors Association, a nonpartisan group, identified a long list of Trump-backed cuts to programs that support states.

Those cuts could come on top of a potentially huge restructuring of the federal Medicaid program under a Republican-backed health care law. A number of Republican governors, including John Kasich of Ohio and Brian Sandoval of Nevada, have publicly criticized the bill under consideration in the House of Representatives because they say it would impose an impossible fiscal burden on states.

Posted by at March 23, 2017 6:25 AM

  

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