Trump’s Proposed Budget Creates Winners and Losers in RI

Friday, March 17, 2017
GoLocalProv News Team

President Trump's proposed budget would have a big impact on Rhode Island.
President Donald Trump’s proposed budget is one of the most transformative in modern political history. 

If enacted, the impact on Rhode Island would be pronounced. While the state's Democratic Congressional delegation all blasted the cuts to domestic programs, some simultaneously voiced support for increased military spending.

SLIDES: See Potential Impact in RI BELOW

In previous years when the GOP tried to make significant cuts to domestic programs, Democratic Presidents, or either the House or Senate, would provide a check. 

Congressman Jim Langevin said, "The budget does acknowledge the intense harm that has been caused by defense sequestration, which has long hampered the Department of Defense. It makes important investments in our readiness and our men and women in uniform. The United States faces a variety of adversaries from across the globe, and we need a more lethal fighting force to combat these threats.”

U.S. Senator Jack Reed ripped the proposed budget.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed was less complimentary of the Trump budget. "I support a strong defense and keeping America strong at home," said Reed. "The President has not put forth a serious strategy or comprehensive plan to keep our nation safe, he is just increasing money for the military and cutting money for domestic priorities and hoping that makes him look strong.  It doesn’t.  It makes him seem ill-suited to the role of Commander-in-Chief.”

The Rhode Island Republican party did not issue a statement on the proposed Trump budget.

GoLocal has broken down a number of aspects of the proposed Trump budget and its implications for Rhode Islanders.

  • WINNER: Defense Industry

    The biggest winner in the Trump budget is military spending and correspondingly, many of Rhode Island’s largest private employers will see dramatic increased in spending.

    General Dynamics/Electric Boat, Raytheon, and the Aquidneck Island defense-related companies will all see increase funding and Rhode Island will see job growth

    Total Increase: $54 Billion

    Rhode Island Impact: Unknown


    Rhode Island’s public radio and television will be zeroed out of federal funding in FY18 under Trump's budget. 

    RIPBS’ General Manager David Piccerelli confirmed on Thursday that if the budget is adopted, the station would lose over $700,000, but said he is hopeful that funding can be restored. 

    In late February he appeared on GoLocal LIVE to talk about the importance of public broadcasting in Rhode Island. 

    According to the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, here is the funding to RI -- which would be cut. 

    Eliminates All Funding: $445 million

    Rhode Island Impact: Eliminates all funding

    Including all RI support

    Other System Support


    Radio Community Service Grant


    Television Community Service Grant


    Grand Total


  • WINNER: Veterans

    Veterans' programs see a major boost in the Trump budget proposal — an increase of more than 6%.

    The budget would make some major improvements to the funding structure for many veteran programs. “Trump’s budget plan also provides $4.6 billion in new funding 'for VA health care to improve patient access and timeliness of medical care services for over nine million enrolled veterans,' but offered few specifics on what that will entail,” said Military Times.

    Total Increase: $4.4B (+6% change)

    Rhode Island Impact: Unknown

  • LOSER: National Endowment for the Humanities

    The Trump budget would eliminate all funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities. The agency's Chairman William D. Adams released the following statement on Thursday afternoon:

    “We are greatly saddened to learn of this proposal for elimination, as NEH has made significant contributions to the public good over its 50-year history.  But as an agency of the executive branch, we answer to the President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMBTherefore, we must abide by this budget request as this initial stage of the federal budget process gets under way. It will be up to Congress over the next several months to determine funding levels for fiscal year 2018. We will work closely with OMB in the coming months as the budget process continues. The agency is continuing its normal operations at this time."

    Between 2008 and 2012, institutions and individuals in Rhode Island received $6.4 million, according to NEH. Programs funded included Brown’s John Carter Library, which was awarded $270,000 to support a fellowship program for NEH designated scholars. 

    Eliminates All Funding: $148 million

    Rhode Island Impact: Eliminates all funding

  • LOSER: Environmental Protection Agency

    One of the federal agencies hardest hit by Trump's budget is the EPA. 

    The EPA lab in Narragansett as well as clean-up programs like Superfund will be impacted.

    The Washington Post reports, “Trump's budget begins to dismantle the EPA, shrinking its funding by 31 percent and eliminating a fifth of its workforce. More than 50 programs would be eliminated altogether, including Energy Star; grants that help states and cities fight air pollution; an office focused on environmental justice and cleanup efforts in the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes; and infrastructure assistance to Alaskan native villages and along the Mexican border. Funding for drinking water infrastructure would remain intact, but the agency's scientific research would suffer massive cuts.”

    “Hollowing out the EPA will leave communities at the mercy of big polluters and signal surrender in the fight against catastrophic climate change. How exactly does allowing industrial plants to pollute our air and drinking water put America first?  How does hamstringing our diplomatic corps put America first?” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in a statement on Thursday. 

    Total Decrease $2.5B (-31% change)

    Rhode Island Impact: Unknown

  • WINNER: Homeland Security

    Federal agencies will win under the Trump budget, including funding for a beefed up border. Funding will go to “build a border wall, for 500 new Border Patrol agents, and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.”

    However, certain RI state agencies, local police and emergency agencies will see cuts. According to the Washington Post, the budget "cuts $667 million from grant programs to state and local agencies, including pre-disaster mitigation grants and counterterrorism funding.”  Total impacts on Rhode Island are unknown.

    Total Increase $2.8B (+7% change)

    Rhode Island impact: Unknown

  • LOSER: National Endowment for the Arts

    If Rhode Island is anything, it may be the "Arts State". And arts are getting slashed under Trump's budget. 

    National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu said, "Today we learned that the President’s FY 2018 budget blueprint proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities, large, small, urban and rural, and in every Congressional District in the nation."

    For everthing from Trinity Rep to public art projects -- the budget cuts will dramatically change the funding available for arts groups.

    Eliminates All Funding: $148 million

    Rhode Island Impact: Eliminates all funding

  • LOSER: Commerce Department

    The Trump budget would hit some key programs that impact Rhode Island that are funded via the Commerce Department — these include coastal research programs, and efforts like the Rhode Island Sea Grant which is one of 33 programs across the country “working to enhance environmental stewardship and long-term economic development and responsible use of coastal and marine resources.”

    Also getting slashed in the proposed budget is the Economic Development Administration, which has been targeted for decades. U.S. Senator John Chafee called for the elimination of the program and called it “pork” back in the 1980s.

    Senator Whitehouse criticized the cuts to funding for NOAA, “Slashing the NOAA budget will take away resources from our coastal economy in Rhode Island.”

    Total Decrease $1.4B (-16% change)

    Rhode Island Impact: Unknown



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