Carper Statement on President Trump’s Budget Outline

WASHINGTON—Today U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement reacting to President Trump’s budget outline for the 2018 fiscal year.

“A budget is a reflection of our values as a nation; numbers are black and white, and they show clearly where our priorities lie and what we as a society hold dear. President Trump’s first budget unequivocally confirms that his priority is appeasing his most extreme supporters rather than governing in a responsible way.

“To call these cuts draconian would be an understatement. They go far beyond what any reasonable Republican would propose, which is why so many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have already said this proposal is dead on arrival. This budget blueprint is in no way a serious policy proposal – it is an irresponsible, political statement that, if ever enacted, would make our country less safe, put Americans’ health and safety at risk and leave the most vulnerable among us in dire straits.

“The United States spends more than $500 billion on defense – more than the next ten nations combined. President Trump announced his intention to send $54 billion more to the Department of Defense a few weeks ago, but now we have a better idea of how he’s going to pay for that significant funding increase. Resources are scarce, and we know all too well that money doesn’t grow on trees. That means domestic programs that have tremendous positive impacts on the lives of average Americans have been put on the chopping block. He’s going to slash a fifth of the budget for the National Institutes of Health, undermining life-changing research on everything from Alzheimer’s to cancer to autism. He’s zeroed out funding for the Community Development Block Grant Program, which feeds millions of our seniors and the disabled, and helps struggling families have a place to call home.

“As top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, I’m deeply troubled by the devastating cuts President Trump has proposed at Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). President Trump has repeatedly threatened to get rid of the EPA in almost every form, and, while that sentiment might have played well on the campaign trail, cuts of this magnitude will have serious public health and environmental consequences in the real world.

“Slashing EPA programs by 31 percent would effectively starve an agency that, for years, has been forced to do more with less. These cuts would cripple states’ ability to carry out even the most basic protections, like ensuring communities have safe water to drink, are protected from exposure to toxic chemicals and have clean air to breathe. If President Trump sends pink slips to more than 3,000 EPA employees as he has proposed, it will be impossible for the agency to carry out its mission. And despite all his talk of upgrading our country’s infrastructure, President Trump wants to slash the budget of the Army Corps of Engineers, the agency responsible for building and operating dams, levees and other critical water infrastructure that protects the public, by 17 percent. Additionally, President Trump would completely eliminate all future grants from the popular transportation programs TIGER and Transit New Starts, and he would terminate Amtrak’s long distance train services. 

“Numbers tell the real story, and these cuts make clear that President Trump lacks even a basic understanding of the critical role these agencies play and show his disregard for the real concerns of families across this country.”