Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) is known for his unyielding position on safety net programs. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)



With Mulvaney in Place, Budget Office Preps 'Hit List' on Public Programs

National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Americorps are among targets meant to showcase 'waste' of taxpayer funds

Nadia Prupis

With Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) confirmed to lead the White House budget office, the Trump administration is getting ready to follow through on plans to slash major domestic programs, the New York Times reported Friday.

Work on President Donald Trump's first budget proposal has been delayed as Republicans worked to get Mulvaney—known for his unyielding stances on safety net programs—approved as head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Now, his office has targeted nine popular and critical programs to axe, according to an early internal OMB memo obtained by the Times.

The so-called "hit list" includes, in part, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Export-Import Bank, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, which funds AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps projects.

Most of the programs run on less than $500 million annually—"a pittance for a government that is projected to spend about $4 trillion this year," write reporters Sharon LaFraniere and Alan Rappeport.

But the targeting of these offices seems intentional, LaFraniere and Rappeport note: "While the total amount of annual savings of roughly $2.5 billion would be comparatively small, administration officials want to highlight the agencies in their coming budget proposal as examples of misuse of taxpayer dollars."

Some targets, like the Office of National Drug Control Policy, are notable in their opposition to some of the president's own talking points, they write:

Trump has spoken volubly about the nation's drug problems, yet the list includes the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, which dispenses grants to reduce drug use and drug trafficking. And despite Trump's vocal promotion of American exports, the list includes the Export-Import Bank, which has guaranteed loans to foreign customers of American companies since the 1930s.

Staffers on Trump's transition team told The Hill in January that the president was preparing dramatic budget cuts, including to the departments of Justice, State, Energy, Transportation, and Commerce, with some programs slated entirely for elimination.

While not all of those departments were included in the Times' reporting, many of the same programs mentioned by the staffers appear to be officially targeted for cuts.

And several have long been in conservative crosshairs. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich began the crusade against the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 1994 during the so-called Republican "revolution," the Times notes.

The memo notes that the list is subject to change, but will be finalized by March 13.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Coalition Urges Biden to Make 'Transformative Change' in Approach to Global Food and Agriculture

"This pro-corporate agriculture agenda must change under your watch."

Andrea Germanos ·

Mondaire Jones Warns Against Watering Down Human Infrastructure Proposals

The New York Democrat is advocating universal programs, not means-tested ones, for programs in the Build Back Better plan.

Andrea Germanos ·

Manchin Threatening Key Climate Provision: Reports

"To take it out is to decide that climate change isn't a problem."

Andrea Germanos ·

'Make a Gesture of Humanity': Pope Francis Urges Pharma Giants to Release Covid-19 Vaccine Patents

"There are countries where only three or four percent of the inhabitants have been vaccinated."

Andrea Germanos ·

Manchin Fumes After Sanders Op-Ed in West Virginia Paper Calls Out Obstruction of Biden Agenda

"Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation," wrote Sanders. "Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo