Trump’s New Budget Sells Out Our Environment to Fund His Border Wall

by Kelly Mitchell

May 23, 2017

Today, the Trump administration released the latest version of its federal budget — and it’s even more devastating for our climate and communities than the first.

Photo by Gage Skidmore / Flickr.

Earlier this year, the Trump White House gave us a preview of what it hopes for the future of our country when it released its budget guidelines for Congress. That budget included a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, including gutting programs designed to protect our air and water from pollution.

Thanks to thousands of concerned citizens like you speaking out, Congress rejected that budget and kept environmental health programs funded for another year. But today, the Trump administration released its new budget proposal for 2018 — and once again it puts corporate polluters before our health and communities.

Here are three reasons we’ll be resisting this disastrous plan with everything we’ve got.

1. Trump’s budget would harm our most vulnerable neighbors and family members.

If approved, this budget would take an ax to Medicaid, Social Security Disability, Welfare, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, and other live-saving programs. Millions of Americans would risk losing health insurance, including children protected under Children’s Health Insurance Program.

But for Trump, it’s not enough just to make it harder for poor kids to get healthcare; his budget also reduces student loan assistance, cuts funding for teacher training and after school programs, and redistributes money from poor schools to those in wealthy communities and charter schools. Finally, it makes good on campaign promises to restrict funding to Planned Parenthood, a critical source of basic health services for many low-income women.

Of note, Trump’s budget does not mention his proposed $5.5 trillion tax cut that would do nothing but benefit the richest Americans.

2. It paves the way for more reckless oil drilling and climate chaos.

Trump wants to open the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, give the green light to a massive expansion of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (while taking away financial benefits to Gulf states that shoulder the burden of oil spills), and slash the EPA’s budget virtually to non-existence.

He also wants to sell off our strategic oil reserve, designed to offer emergency supply to Americans in the case of a catastrophic event, for a bit of quick cash. Putting aside that the economics don’t work — the oil industry is suffering due to a global oversupply of oil — this is exactly the kind of favor to the fossil fuel industry we can expect from a president who stocked his administration with oil CEOs and corporate shills.

A strong, functioning EPA that actually looks out for public health is crucial to limiting reckless, unnecessary oil drilling. So of course, this budget does everything it can to cripple the EPA and give corporate polluters free reign. In fact, by percentage, the EPA would face the largest cut of any government agency. Trump and friends have always been climate-denying disaster enablers, but this budget goes as far as cutting the EPA’s Superfund program, which takes on the controversial task of cleaning up toxic waste sites near people’s homes.

EPA head Scott Pruitt has already tried to redefine the agency’s mission to include “energy independence” instead of its founding mission of “protecting human health and the environment.” An even smaller budget will enable Pruitt to make deep cuts to climate programs as well as basic clean air and clean water protections.

3. Where does the money go? Funding for war and Trump’s racist border wall.

Let’s not be fooled for a second into thinking that Trump is some small government conservative making tough cuts that save hard-working taxpayers money — this budget is not for us. No matter how the White House tries to spin it, Trump’s budget includes an additional $469 billion over the next decade in military spending and funds the infamous border (you know, the one Trump promised to make Mexico pay for).

It’s a cynical and cruel display of the mindset inside the Trump administration: we can’t protect children from climate catastrophe, but we can build a concrete monument to intolerance and fear.

RESIST: your action can make sure Trump’s budget doesn’t pass Congress.

We deserve a budget that puts the needs of the American people before hedge fund billionaires and oil CEOs. And there’s still a chance for us to make that happen, but we need to get to work now.

Trump’s budget still needs to make it through Congress in order to go into effect in 2018, and early reactions from Democrats and Republicans indicate that it’s going to face stern resistance along the way. It’s our job to make that resistance as loud as possible.

Sign today: tell Congress to reject Trump’s budget and defend our climate and environment from Trump.

Kelly Mitchell

By Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell is the Climate and Energy Campaign Director for Greenpeace, based in Chicago. Since 2006, she has worked with activists and organizations across the country to confront corporate polluters and transform U.S. energy policy. She currently leads Greenpeace's campaign for an economy powered by 100 percent renewable energy, pushing some of the largest companies in the world to embrace wind and solar and working alongside communities to develop a just and democratic energy system.

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