News and Commentary

11 Unauthorized Government Spending Programs Trump Cut From His 2018 Budget

This week, Donald Trump submitted his 2018 Taxpayers First Budget. In producing the budget, Mick Mulvaney, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, announced that the Trump Administration has discovered approximately $300 billion in federal spending in programs that have expired. This unauthorized spending has a real impact on balancing the budget.

The Trump administration has not yet announced a full list of the programs that are unauthorized, but a quick review of the 2018 budget found 11 programs that Trump is terminating because Congress has not renewed the program in some time.

1. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration

The Economic Development Administration spent $251 million dollars in 2017. This agency’s authority to exist expired in 2008.

2. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Grants and Education

In 2017, NOAA spent $217 million on state, local, and/or industry interests (think special interest).

3. Department of Health and Human Services, Community Services Block Grant

The Community Services Block Grant funds approximately 1,000 non-profit and local government organizations to a tune of $714 million dollars. These funds are not tied to performance and the money has been allocated based on what a state received in 1981.

4. Department of Homeland Security, Port Security Grants and Transit Security Assistance

The 2018 Budget did not mention how much the individual Port Security Grant program spends each year but did mention it was an unauthorized program and that the Department’s budget would be reduced. Overall, the 2018 budget eliminates $218 million from Homeland Security for programs that are being eliminated.

5. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Choice Neighborhoods

The 2018 Budget proposes to eliminate the $125 million budget of Choice Neighborhoods and allow state and local governments to provide incentives to private interests to improve neighborhoods.

6. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Community Development Block Grant

The Community Development Block Grant has spent approximately $150 billion since its inception in 1974. The 2018 budget states that the grants have not demonstrated a measurable impact.

7. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Indian Community Development Block Grant

This $60 million block grant fund is being eliminated because it is duplicative and no longer authorized by Congress. This fund authorized grants to Tribes for the construction of affordable housing. There is no matrix to prove that this grant actually had any impact on affordable housing.

8. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program Account

In addition to offering duplicative services, this program has been expired since 2001. For 16 years, this program has been giving money to non-profit organizations to assist with community development activities. This program will waste $56 Million in 2017.

9. Department of Justice, State Criminal Alien Assistance Program

This duplicative and unauthorized program reimburses states and local governments for the cost of incarcerating illegal criminal aliens. This program is poorly administered in that the local governments applying for the funds did not actually have to use the funds for detaining illegal criminal aliens. A large portion of the funds go to New York and California.

10. Department of Transportation, National Infrastructure Investments

This $499 million discretionary grant program was part of the 2009 stimulus bill. It spends federal dollars on local projects with no national or regional interests. This grant program has not been authorized by Congress for the last two years.

11. Department of Treasury, Community Development Financial Institutions Fund

This program was created in 1994 and is currently unauthorized. This program was designed to assist in the expansion of credit for “low-income and underserved people and communities.” This fund has created 1,100 Treasury-certified CDFIs. The Trump 2018 budget is eliminating the ability for this program to issue grants but is allowing the program to provide oversight for the 1,100 CDFIs that the program created in the last 23 years.

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