The Trump administration recently rolled out its first full proposed budget to Congress, a blueprint that Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney branded a “messaging document” at a Senate Budget Committee hearing last week.
“You don’t have to spend all of the money that you’ve just allocated or provided for on the caps, but if you do, here is how the administration would prefer to spend it,” Mulvaney described the budget plan’s first message, adding that the second message is “if you do spend it, here are the administration’s priorities.”
“And if something happens between now and the appropriations bill that you pass in March, or the appropriations bill that you pass for ’19, between the end of March and September of this year, if you decide not to spend all the way up the caps, then you have the administration’s guidance on how we would prefer to do that,” he told senators.
A starting point for discussions with Congress, the proposed funding, especially as it pertains to DHS, is intended by the administration to reflect a clear desire to build on America’s security strengths, emphasizing heightened investments toward border security and immigration enforcement as well as advancements in cybersecurity and aviation safety. Notable proposed cuts include a 29.1 percent decrease to the Department of State, a slight decrease 3.8 percent to the Department of Justice, and a 6.8 percent increase to the Department of Homeland Security.
Department of Homeland Security
The budget reflects a request of $47.5 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is an increase of $3.5 billion, or 7.8 percent, from President Trump’s FY 2018 budget.
Border security and immigration reform top the spending priorities with $1.6 billion toward the development of 65 miles of a new border wall system in southern Texas, and $164 million put toward the development of 750 new Border Patrol agents and 153 support staff.
However, there is more to the budget than just border protection: there are also efforts to enhance national and public security by enforcing immigration laws, which includes $5.1 billion to be put toward implementation and removal efforts along with $571 million for 2,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement law enforcement officers and 1,312 support staff. Additional funds are also being funneled to U.S. Coast Guard’s efforts to recapitalize their fleet.
In addition to important outlays, the administration reduced spending and made cuts including:
- The Transportation Security Administration’s Law Enforcement Grants were removed, which reflected a $45 million savings from its previous allowance.
- The Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program was reduced from $178 million to $100 million.
One of the most notable budget adjustments is an Immigration Services Surcharge. All requests collected by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, including applications for citizenship, adjustments to status, and temporary worker petitions, would see an added 10 percent surcharge under the president’s plan. These funds would be housed in the U.S. Treasury’s general fund and applied toward deficit reduction.
The budget also extends the expiring Customs and Border Protection fees beyond 2025, increases customs user fees, levies a 35 percent increase in worksite enforcement penalties, and reauthorizes the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund excise tax.
While border protection and immigration are at the forefront of budget reform, cybersecurity remains a spending priority as well. With plans to further protect information technology platforms against cyberattack on all government levels, and in conjunction with international and private sector partners, the FY 2019 budget sees almost $1 billion to be put toward the protection of network and system weaknesses, and $319 million toward critical infrastructure protection.