PRESIDENT’S BUDGET SAYS MANY THINGS, WILL MOST BECOME REALITY?
We don’t need to re-hash the broad figures laid out last week in President Trump’s proposed FY’18 budget. The Washington Post did a fine job of doing that on the front page of its March 16th edition. What we can do, though, is bring a slight dose of reality to the proceedings. The bottom line is that the degree of cuts proposed simply cannot pass Congress. With Republican control of the Senate sharply narrowed, there aren’t enough votes, even assuming that all Republican Senators back the President’s plan – something which is doubtful. As such, no one should be surprised that FY’18 final budgets for State and EPA will probably be higher than the 30% average cut put forth by the Administration.
The Administration probably knows this, too. The President has a background as a shrewd business person. The best way to look at this budget, therefore, is as an opening negotiation position to take with Congress. Will there be reductions? Most probably, especially in areas like EPA that many Republicans think over-reached during the last Administration. On the other hand, contractors need to keep in mind that Defense, VA, and DHS spending are all slated to go up, providing plenty of opportunities for business. Similarly, “infrastructure” spending will offset some of the proposed cuts and perhaps be classified as “investments”. There’s no need to run for the exits based on the latest proposal. GSA, though, had best take care to make its own case. The President’s budget calls for a 17% reduction in that agency. Perhaps the extent of any final cut there depends on the success of the Trump Hotel.