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White House calls for 5 percent cut in agency budgets

Cara J

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At a cabinet meeting Oct. 17, President Donald Trump asked all cabinet secretaries to reduce their agencies’ proposed budgets by 5 percent for fiscal year 2020. The call for cuts comes just days after the Treasury Department announcement that FY2018 showed a $779 billion deficit, a 17 percent increase over the previous year’s deficit. The administration recommends a federal budget each year, but the final appropriation amounts are determined annually by Congress. In recent years, Congress has resisted adopting the recommended wholesale reductions in discretionary domestic spending, such as Interior and Agriculture Department programs that impact wildlife. The administration recommended several budget cuts in FY2019 that were not carried out by Congress. The administration budget would have eliminated the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cooperative Research Unit Program and cut funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program by more than half, but neither change was enacted by Congress. With many wildlife management and conservation programs already chronically underfunded, an additional 5 percent reduction could have serious effects. The USGS Cooperative Research Units have been appropriated around $17 million for the last several years and needs an additional $6.6 million annually to fill outstanding vacant positions and meet the needs of [...]

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