How Trump’s Proposed Budget Will Impact People of Color

By Kenrya Rankin Mar 16, 2017

The Office of Management and Budget released President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the federal government today (March 16). Called “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” it uses a slogan that the president made popular on the campaign trail—and that, as CNN reported last year—has anti-Semitic ties.

From Trump’s note to Congress, which opens the budget:

Our aim is to meet the simple, but crucial demand of our citizens—a government that puts the needs of its own people first. When we do that, we will set free the dreams of every American, and we will begin a new chapter of American greatness. A budget that puts America first must make the safety of our people its number one priority—because without safety, there can be no prosperity.… The core of my first Budget Blueprint is the rebuilding of our nation’s military without adding to our Federal deficit. There is a $54 billion increase in defense spending in 2018 that is offset by targeted reductions elsewhere. This defense funding is vital to rebuilding and preparing our Armed Forces for the future.


Here’s how the “targeted reductions” outlined in the budget will impact people of color if approved by Congress, broken down by agency.

Department of Agriculture
-Cuts $4.7 billion (21 percent) from budget, including from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides state grants that support food, health care referrals and nutrition education for low-income families. Forty-one percent of the 9+ million annual WIC recipients are people of color.

Department of Commerce
-Kills the Minority Business Development Agency, which promotes the growth of businesses owned by people of color and Hasidic Jews.

-Eliminates the Economic Development Administration, which fosters job creation via partnerships with local economic development officials. Per its website, it is the “only federal government agency focused exclusively on economic development.” While the overall unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, it is 8.3 percent for Black Americans and 6.0 percent for Latinxs.

Department of Education
-Cuts $9 billion (13 percent) from budget, while increasing investment in school choice programs by $1.4 billion. These programs will push districts to attach funding directly to individual students, so that if a student leaves a public school, that school will see a decrease in its funding. Critics argue that these programs negatively impact students of color, both in terms of academic achievement and segregation.

-Eliminates the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grant program, which helps states increase academic achievement and provides “low-income and minority students greater access to effective teachers, principals and other school leaders.”

-Does away with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which funds academic, cultural and artistic enrichment opportunities for students in high-poverty, low-performing schools to help them meet state and local education standards. Studies show that these students are typically Black and Latinx.

-Maintains current funding for Pell Grants, but cancels “$3.9 billion from unobligated carryover funding,” which means that funds that were previously earmarked for grants will be directed elsewhere. For the 2011-2012 school year, 61.9 percent of Black students, 54 percent of Native Americans and 50 percent of Latinxs (excluding those in Puerto Rico) received Pell Grants. Just 33.5 percent of White students depended on that funding to attend college.

-Kills the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, which helps students with “exceptional financial need” attend undergraduate school. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that Black and Latinx students are especially dependent on grants to attend college.

-Cuts $193 million in funding for Federal TRIO Programs and GEAR UP, which provide counseling, mentoring and academic services for potential and current first-generation college students from low-income families and students with disabilities. First-generation college students are more likely to be students of color.

-Maintains current level of funding ($492 million) for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), despite the president’s promise to make those institutions an “absolute priority.”

Department of Energy
-Cuts $2 billion in funding from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Nuclear Energy, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and the Fossil Energy Research and Development program, as well as the Weatherization Assistance Program (which improves energy efficiency in the homes of low-income families) and the State Energy Program (which advances the clean energy economy at the state level).

-Cuts $900 million from the Office of Science, which advances a “clean energy agenda through basic research on energy production, storage, transmission and use.” Research consistently shows that the pollution caused by “dirty” energy sources disproportionately impact communities where people of color live.

Department of Health and Human Services
-Reduces the National Institutes of Health’s budget by $5.8 million, including “consolidating” the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which works to reduce healthcare-associated infections. Asian and Latinx patients are significantly more likely to experience these life-threatening infections than non-Hispanic White people.

-Eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income families keep their heat on in the winter and reduces the “risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe heating and cooling practices.” The program was used by 152 tribal organizations in 2015.

-Cuts the Community Services Block Grant, which funds services aimed at reducing poverty. Nearly a quarter of Black families in this country are living in poverty; the same goes for 21 percent of Latinxs.

Department of Homeland Security
-Earmarks $2.6 billion to build a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico, which is aimed to keep out immigrants from Mexico and Central America per Trump’s executive orders.

-Allocates $314 million to hire and train 500 border patrol agents and 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel.

-Adds $1.5 billion to the budget for “expanded detention, transportation, and removal of illegal immigrants.”

-Drops $667 million in funding for state and local programs administered by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which already has a poor track record when it comes to helping people of color who are displaced by storms.

Department of Housing and Urban Development
-Eliminates $1.1 billion in funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program which connects low-income families to affordable housing and helps them purchase homes), the Choice Neighborhoods program (which revitalizes areas with “distressed public and assisted housing”) and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program (which makes grants to nonprofits that help low-income families build homes). The budgets says this move “promotes fiscal responsibility.”

-Adds $20 million to programs that mitigate lead-based paint in low-income homes where children live, while reducing the agency’s total budget by $6.2 billion overall (13.2 percent).

-Eliminates Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing, which provides grants to nonprofits “have as part of their mission the holistic improvement of the neighborhood for the benefit of low-income families.”

Department of the Interior
-Reduces funding and services that support tribal governments by unspecified amount, which the budget says will support “tribal sovereignty and self-determination across Indian Country.”

Department of Justice
-Cuts overall budget by $1.1 billion (3.8 percent). This agency is charged with ensuring the “fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

-Increases FBI spending by $9 million to increase response time for firearms purchase background checks. and “develop and refine evidence and data to target violent crime in some cities and communities.”

-Adds $80 million to allocation to hire 75 immigration judge teams “to bolster and more efficiently adjudicate removal proceedings.”

-Adds 60 border enforcement prosecutors and 40 deputy U.S. marshals to the ranks “for the apprehension, transportation, and prosecution of criminal aliens.”

-Adds 20 attorneys to obtain “land and holdings necessary to secure the Southwest border” and 20 people for immigration litigation.

-Adds $171 million to budget for space to hold detainees.

-Provides unspecified funds for “critical programs aimed at protecting the life and safety of State and local law enforcement personnel, including Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement Officer Resilience and Survivability and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership.”

-Increases budget by $80 million to activate existing prisons that are to currently being used and $113 million to repair and modernize other detention facilities. Black and Latinx men are disproportionally represented in the nation’s prisons and jails.

Department of Labor
-Reduces funding for job training grants, including the Senior Community Service Employment Program, where nearly half of the participants are people of color.

Department of the Treasury
-Eliminates funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund grants, which support economic growth in “distressed communities” and “inject new sources of capital into neighborhoods that lack access to financing.”

Environmental Protection Agency
-Cuts funding by $2.6 billion—that is 31 percent. This agency is supposed to “protect human health and the environment.”

-Discontinues financial support for the Clean Power Plan (which aims to reduce carbon pollution from power plans) as well as “international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, and related efforts.” The stated goal is to pivot the EPA’s “air program to protect the air we breathe without unduly burdening the American economy,”

-Drops funding of Hazardous Substance Superfund Account by $330 million. Those funds are allocated to cleaning up hazardous waste sites, which research shows are more likely to be located in communities of color.

-Cuts $223 million in funding for the Office of Research and Development, which “provides the foundation for credible decision-making to safeguard human health and ecosystems from environmental pollutants.”

-Cuts 50+ EPA programs to the tune of $437 million. Targeted programs include those that provide infrastructure assistants to Alaska Native Villages and the Mexico border.

Small Business Administration
-Cuts the overall budged by $43.2 million (5 percent). Includes $12 million reduction in funding for programming including PRIME technical assistance grants, Regional Innovation Clusters, and Growth Accelerators. The agency’s own research shows that Black and Latinx start businesses with less money than their White counterparts and the axed programming helped to bridge that gap.

Additional Cuts
Per the budget:

The budget also proposes to eliminate funding for other independent agencies, including: the African Development Foundation; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chemical Safety Board; the Corporation for National and Community Service; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Delta Regional Authority; the Denali Commission; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Inter-American Foundation; the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; the Legal Services Corporation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; the Northern Border Regional Commission; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; the United States Institute of Peace; the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.