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The cover of President Donald Trump’s budget for the 2021 fiscal year.

Trump’s Proposed $4.8 Trillion Budget Defunds the NEA and NEH

President Donald Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which was released on Monday, contains few surprises. The Trump administration once again proposed drastic cuts to domestic spending, such as funds for student loan assistance, affordable housing, and health care, and increases spending for the military and border enforcements. The document, titled “A Budget for America’s Future,” also details the elimination of agencies with “no proper federal role,” including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

“Taxpayers have repeatedly watched the Federal Government respond to any problem with the creation of new agencies, new programs, and new spending initiatives, instead of reorganizing, or repurposing what is already available within the vast bureaucracy,” reads the budget message of the president. “As a result, there are hundreds of programs in the Federal Government that have outlived their mission, duplicate efforts, or operate below peak efficiencies because of fragmented responsibilities between agencies. This wasteful spending has been a contributing factor to the Government’s deteriorating fiscal health.”

This may be Trump’s fourth attempt to defund the NEA and the NEH, but the budget does not go into effect unless it is passed by Congress. Since lawmakers have largely ignored the president’s spending-cut proposals in the past, there is a chance that the NEA and the NEH will survive the renewed threat—after Trump first targeted the agencies in 2017, they continued to operate, and in 2018, their budgets were actually boosted by $3 million each. The document, which is more of an outline of the White House’s spending priorities and a reflection of promises made during Trump’s 2016 campaign trail, sparked outrage from Democrats, many of whom take issue with the 26 percent reduction in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the steep cuts for foreign aid and education.

After viewing the proposed budget, US Congressman Richard E. Neal, who represents the first district of Massachusetts, said: “I felt an immense sense of relief—relief that there is absolutely no chance of his ruthless cuts to critical programs ever becoming law.” In a statement, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said: “The federal budget is supposed to be a statement of national values. Once again, the President is showing just how little he values the good health, financial security and well-being of hard-working American families.”

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