Government Spending

Congress Reaches Spending Deal; 'Skinny Budget' Goes Out the Window

You didn't think they were really going to defund public broadcasting and slash the EPA by 31 percent, did you?


Sesame Street

Take Big Bird off the altar; they're not going to sacrifice him after all. (*) Congress has reached a deal to keep the government funded til September and, as usual, the GOP's talk about defunding public radio and TV has turned out to be an empty threat. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting isn't being zeroed out. In fact, the bill will fund it at the same level as last year.

The National Endowment for the Arts? It'll get more this year than last. The National Endowment for the Humanities? Same. The Environmental Protection Agency is getting less money, but not the 31 percent cut proposed in the administration's so-called "skinny budget"; instead it's losing just 1 percent. And no, Planned Parenthood isn't getting defunded.

I highlighted those five items not because they're big parts of the budget—only the EPA really spends that much—but because they're the sorts of red-meat issues that get Republicans and Democrats worked up. If they're basically unchanged, you can be sure that there won't be major reductions in the areas where there's a lot of bipartisan agreement. Sure enough, there will be more money for medical research, for national parks, for NASA, for the DEA, for Homeland Security, and—of course—for the Pentagon. The military won't be getting the $54 billion hike that Trump proposed, but the $25 billion boost that it's getting instead isn't so shabby.

There are a few small victories here and there for limited government. The plan won't fund Trump's border wall (though border security in general is getting a spending spike), and Jeff Sessions may be unhappy to hear that the Department of Justice won't be allowed to use its funds to keep states "from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana." And yes, some offices will be seeing some cuts under Trump, just as some offices saw some cuts under Obama.

Overall, though, Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur summed it up pretty well:


If that sounds familiar, it's because it's pretty much what we've been telling you to expect here at Reason. We may live in weird times, but some things are still predictable.

(* Yes, I know: These days Big Bird airs on HBO. He is nonetheless fated to forever be a synecdoche for the CPB.)

NEXT: Victims of Communism Day 2017

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  1. Fun fact: “The National Endowment for the Humanities” was my nickname in college.

    1. Mine was “Naturally Endowed Humanity.”

  2. Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.
    We elected the wildest of wildcards and we still can’t cut spending. LOL

    1. Pres don’t make budget. Simple as that.

      Maybe, if he was super popular, he could get some of his cuts through. And even then… probably not.

      1. Nonsense presidents propose and sign off on spending. He has every ability to control the levels of spending and in fact more control than any other person in the country. The reason you got spending increases rather than cuts is that the talking yam has no interest in spending cuts. Makes sense we know that our bloated federal agencies would be reduced to paupers if we couldn’t get them another 50 billion a year.

        1. He has a few abilities, certainly not all of them. He can’t amend legislation or control what happens to a bill in either chamber. He can veto what gets passed, and even then, he can be overridden by 2/3 of Congress (not impossible to get if there is a shutdown).

        2. Talking Yam. I like that.

  3. There’s no turning back. The TEA Party is in ruins, along with enumerated Constitutional powers and the GOP.
    Pelosi et al win again – making four yard gains instead of ten yards but still running up the score. You cannot fight Santa Claus and his sob stories.

  4. You didn’t think they were really going to defund public broadcasting and slash the EPA by 31 percent, did you?

    No. Only morons ever believed that shit.

    1. “morons” aka President Pud and Planet Pud.

  5. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting isn’t being zeroed out. In fact, the bill will fund it at the same level as last year.

    And this will be called a cut.

  6. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    You can’t cut spending when even the right will vote out anyone who cuts their spending.

    1. Won’t get fooled again, right?

  7. Doesn’t the big P still have to approve the final version? If so I wouldn’t put it past him to kick the thing back to the House even if it meant going into shutdown.

    1. Do you really think that’s going to happen? Not a chance.

  8. Is it possible this was a continuation of Obama’s budget? Considering President Trump’s ‘budget’ is not taken into account until October. The POTUS budget merely lays out his agenda and how it will be paid for.
    And it is the House that has control of the purse strings. However, they should have gone with the so called shutdown! Kicking the can down the road is wrong.

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