Statement on President Trump’s Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2018
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo today issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018.
President Trump’s FY18 budget proposal is detrimental to working families and would significantly slash health care, education, and job opportunities for millions of Americans. His proposal guts non-defense spending at every level of government and imposes harmful cuts to important programs like Medicaid, CHIP, student loans, environmental protection, coastal and ocean research and management, and small business assistance. Furthermore, deep cuts to the Department of State, USAID, and related programs are unacceptable and would withdraw the United States from our global leadership role, leaving populations around the world vulnerable and undermining our national security. In fact, these cuts in ‘soft power’ programs undermine our Indo-Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy.
The President’s budget is particularly concerning for Guam and the other territories as it decimates critical programs administered by the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA). The President’s budget eliminates $3 million in discretionary funding for Compact impact, $800,000 in technical assistance, and $650,000 in Brown Tree Snake Control programs. I am encouraged, though, that funding was included to execute the Palau Compact. While this funding is critical to strengthening our relationships in the region, I am concerned about the management of the program under OIA and believe that it may be more appropriately administered under the State Department or other appropriate agency. We have heard the concerns raised by the Freely Associated States about execution of the Compacts. If Interior is unable to come up with the funding it is appropriate for Congress to look carefully at how this program is operating.
I am also disappointed that the President did not include an appropriation for war claims. I had written to the administration at the start of the Trump presidency to request a direct appropriation so that administering this program would hold Guam’s treasury harmless. His proposal does request $79 million in mandatory spending for Section 30, so there will be funding available to ensure that our survivors receive their claim. I continue to work to find an alternative funding solution that does not rely on Section 30, but the President’s budget does make that case more difficult. I hope that Governor Calvo will weigh in with the administration and support my efforts on war claims.
President Trump’s budget proposal makes his administration’s priorities clear and will significantly harm the middle class and those who most need help. Marginal increases in the DOD budget may be appropriate given the myriad threats and challenges we face, particularly in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, but we must focus on spending wisely. Significant military construction investments proposed for Guam will strengthen our military’s presence in the region, and contribute to Guam’s economy. While I do believe that we need to strengthen our national security and protect our country, his proposal guts our national security apparatus that goes well beyond DOD investment. Furthermore it does so on the backs of everyday Americans while protecting the wealthy and privileged. However, the privilege and responsibility of authorizing and appropriating funds lies with Congress, and I will work with my colleagues to oppose these harmful cuts and ensure that our budget for FY18 reflect the priorities of all Americans.