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Trump cuts out his base

Politico reports irresponsible cuts at the US DOL for programs that benefit old people and factory workers

Posted on
Mar 28, 2017

Knock, Knock.
Who's There?
Aren't ya.
Aren't ya who?
Aren't you glad you voted for Trump.  smh

Trump sent a spreadsheet to congressional appropriators Friday that proposes roughly a 5 percent budget cut ($676 million) at the Department of Labor for fiscal year 2017. The reduction is meant to help shave $18 billion from total spending in the current fiscal year, as Helena Bottemiller Evich and Sarah Ferris reported Monday.

At the Labor Department, the proposed cuts resemble those in Trump's "skinny" budget for fiscal year 2018. The administration would eliminate entirely the Senior Community Service Employment Program (to save $434 million), a program that funds job training for low-income, unemployed older adults. "With costs of almost $6,500 per participant, it is not a cost-effective mechanism to provide community service opportunities to older adults," says the spreadsheet. The cuts also would reduce by 45 percent (to save $100 million) spending on grants to provide assistance to dislocated workers in states that have experienced a sudden unemployment event, a group for whom Trump previously expressed strong sympathy.

A training program for migrant and seasonal workers would be nixed (to save $82 million). "Too often it creates a parallel job training system for this population," the spreadsheet says. Funds to the Bureau of International Labor Affairs would be slashed by 70 percent (to save $60 million) to refocus the agency "on its more central work of enforcing the labor provisions of trade agreements." On immigration, Trump would reduce State Department's budget for the refugee program by 17 percent (a $99 million cut), a blow it could absorb "because of lower projections in FY 2017 of refugee admissions," the document says.

A pair of manufacturing programs would be cleaved, too. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a public-private venture under the Commerce Department and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, would lose 50 percent of its funding (a $65 million cut), and Manufacturing USA would lose 40 percent (a $10 million cut).

Whether these reductions will actually happen remains unclear. Congress risks a government shutdown if it can't pass a budget in a month. When POLITICO's Sarah Ferris spoke with appropriators earlier this month, several sounded less than optimistic about further pruning. At the time, Trump had propos shaving $15 billion from the current budget. "It's a little bit late," Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a senior member of both the House Budget Committee and the Appropriations panel, said at the time. "$15 billion is a lot of money and certainly should be taken seriously - but in a $4 trillion, budget, really? Especially when you're coming this late?"

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