By Ed Zwirn
(originally published in just-food on March 29, 2017)
Donald Trump has set out cuts he wants the US Congress to make on the budgets of the US Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration in the remaining months of the current fiscal period.
The proposals for the last five months of the financial year which runs until 30 September would come on top of the Trump administration’s budget proposals for the 2018 financial year. Earlier this month, President Trump set out plans to cut the discretionary spending at the USDA by over a fifth, prompting criticism from the industry and lawmakers from the Democrat and Republican Parties.
US politicians must agree on a spending package by 28 April to prevent a government shutdown and the Trump administration has outlined what it wants to see from the deal.
In total, budgets for food programmes and policies within the US should be cut by US$1bn for the remainder of the current financial year, the administration has proposed.
The reductions would include $40m from the FDA budget, a move the administration says could be accomplished in part by slower-than-anticipated hiring.
Trump wants to see $363m cut from the Office of Food for Peace, a 60 year old programme administered by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that is designed to help feed billions of people in developing countries.
In addition, his proposals would cut $136m from the McGovern–Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, essentially eliminating the initiative, which feeds schoolchildren throughout the world. “This program lacks evidence that it is being effectively implemented to reduce food insecurity,” the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) argued.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration wants a USD49 million cut to USDA’s Rural Business and Cooperative Grant programme for farmers, which “despite decades of funding, “the administration argues, “have failed to move the dial in rural areas.”