Trump wants to slash State Department budget by 28 percent, shift money to defense

The White House is promising a "hard power" budget.

ByABC News
March 16, 2017, 8:42 AM

— -- The newly revealed White House budget blueprint, a discretionary spending wishlist for the next year, calls for major increases in defense spending while calling for major cuts to domestic spending, the State Department and foreign aid.

Any final budget changes have to be approved by Congress.

Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, addressed the blueprint today on "GMA," saying, “The president wrote for the nation and we wrote a budget based on his campaign promises and that’s what you see. The federal budget actually has a bunch of different pieces … we tax revenues in there, you have longer-term policies, you have mandatory spending, all that will be encapsulated in a budget that we will release in May.”

On Wednesday, Mulvaney described the State Department cuts as “fairly dramatic."

“That is not a commentary on the president’s policies toward the State Department. That is a comment on the president’s policies toward what is in their budget,” he told reporters. “The foreign aid line items just happen to fall in State.”

He added, “We wrote it using the president’s own words. We went through his speeches, we went through articles that have been written about his policies ... and we turned those policies into numbers. So you had an America-first candidate — you have an America-first budget.”

Here's a breakdown of budget blueprint.


The White House wants to increase the Pentagon's budget by $54 billion -- a 10 percent jump from 2017. The total proposed base budget for the Department of Defense in 2018 would, under this proposal, amount to $639 billion. The defense budget has consistently been the U.S. government's largest slice of discretionary spending.

State Department/Foreign Aid

In an effort to make up for some of that increased defense spending, the White House wants to cut the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development by 28 percent. While that proposal is sure to face resistance from many in Congress, the State Department put out a statement today saying the proposal "advances the national security interests of the United States" while continuing to "support other critical foreign assistance efforts." President Trump's defense secretary, James Mattis, testified to Congress earlier this year that minimizing diplomacy comes with great risk.

“If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately," Mattis said. "So I think it’s a cost-benefit ratio. The more that we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, hopefully the less we have to put into a military budget as we deal with the outcome of an apparent American withdrawal from the international scene."


One of the largest proposed reductions hits the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump, who has in the past called global warming a "hoax," wants to reduce the agency's budget by 31 percent, or a total of $2.6 billion. Scott Pruitt, the agency's new director, created his own controversy last week when he said he does not believe carbon dioxide is a "primary contributor" to global warming, a view that stands in contrast from the agency he runs.

The blueprint also calls for a 13 percent reduction in the Department of Education ($9 billion) and a 17.9 percent decrease ($15.1 billion) for the Department of Health and Human Services. Medicaid and Social Security remain relatively untouched.

The White House wants to completely eliminate funding for 19 smaller agencies, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the United States Institute of Peace.

Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security would stand to gain additional funds under this plan. A good chunk of the money would go toward the president's much desired border wall with Mexico. Of the $2.8 billion allotted in this proposal, $2.6 billion would be dedicated to planning, designing and constructing the wall. However, Republican leaders have estimated the wall could cost as much as $15 billion.

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