On Wednesday, President Trump released his “America First” 2018 budget blueprint. The president plans to reduce spending in nearly every department, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and move the difference into defense spending. HUD specifically will see a $6.2 billion budget cut on 2018, a 13.2 percent decrease from the 2017 annualized CR level.
When the Wall Street Journal leaked a preliminary draft of the budget blueprint, including the proposed $6 billion in cuts to HUD, MReport noted that Secretary of HUD Ben Carson emailed his staff to reassure that those numbers were not final.
“Today you may have read preliminary HUD FY18 budget negotiations in national media reports. Please understand that budget negotiations currently underway are very similar to those that have occurred in previous years,” the email read. “This budget process is a lengthy, back and forth process that will continue. It’s unfortunate that preliminary numbers were published but, please take some comfort in knowing that starting numbers are rarely final numbers. Rest assured, we are working hard to support those programs that help so many Americans, focus on our core mission, and ensure that every tax dollar is spent wisely and effectively.”
The proposed plan will cut funding for the Community Development Block program, an estimated $3 billion. The Federal Government has spent over $150 billion on the program since its inception in 1974. Reasoning behind the cut is that the program is not well-targeted to the poorest populations, and has not yielded results. Other low-priority HUD programs slated to be cut are the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Choice Neighborhoods, and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program, saving $1.1 billion.
“The discretionary budget plan released today by President Trump aligns with Agency plans to provide rental assistance to low-income and vulnerable households and to help families achieve self-sufficiency," said HUD Secretary Carson in a statement. "The budget also promotes fiscal responsibility at HUD by promoting better efficiencies and leveraging IT modernization. I look forward to working with the President and remain keenly focused on HUD’s mission and core values.”
Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney addressed the concerns of citizens in his preface to the budget blueprint.
“This 2018 Budget Blueprint will not add to the deficit. It has been crafted much the same way any American family creates its own budget while paying bills around their kitchen table; it makes hard choices,” said Mulvaney. “The President’s commitment to fiscal responsibility is historic. Not since early in President Reagan’s first term have more tax dollars been saved and more Government inefficiency and waste been targeted. Every corner of the Federal budget is scrutinized, every program tested, every penny of taxpayer money watched over.”