Come fiscal year 2018, the EPA could be short $2 billion and 3,000 employees. At least that is what President Donald Trump is proposing for the agency in charge of protecting the country’s air and water.
The EPA's budget is currently at more than $8.1 billion with a workforce of 15,376, but POLITICO reports that sources familiar with the budget proposal they received yesterday (February 27) say the White House is looking to drastically reduce both numbers—to lows not seen since the 1980s and early ’90s.
The proposed cuts were “far more severe than anyone imagined,” an unnamed source told POLITICO. The report goes on to say that the Office of Management and Budget is expecting a response from the EPA by Wednesday (March 1).
However excessive these cuts may appear, they are in line with the administration’s plan to increase the military budget by $54 billion, as reported by The New York Times. The president has vowed to keep his campaign promise to protect Medicare and Social Security, but it’s unclear how these programs will remain off the table with such heavy budget changes. The Times does report that, along with the EPA, the Internal Revenue Service and social safety net programs that protect low-income communities would be first to face budget cuts.
Trump is expected to get into more detail about his proposed budget in his first address to Congress tonight (February 28). The Office of Management and Budget will release a “budget blueprint” March 16, according to POLITICO, with the full plan to come in May.