At the end of April, funding for the government expires. This means that Congress needs to pass a new funding bill before the April 28th deadline, or the government will shut down. If the government shuts down, key federal offices that millions of Americans rely on, like the Depts. of Education, Energy, Interior, Homeland Security, and many others, will almost entirely shut down. There are a few options on the table for how Congress might pass a funding bill—but the bottom line is that it has to pass something.
What that funding bill will contain is still being negotiated by Congress, but if Donald Trump’s budget request is any indication of what it might contain, we should all be very worried.
Trump’s Budget: An Attack on Safety, Health, the Environment, and Much More
Trump’s budget would shred the social safety net and cut funding from programs that support working and middle-class families. Cuts would devastate the programs Americans rely on for necessities like quality education, clean air and drinking water, safe food and pharmaceuticals, and much more. In addition, Trump’s budget attacks other vital pillars of U.S. national security by forcing cuts to the agencies supporting diplomacy, foreign aid, and human rights—programs that make the whole world safer.
The massive cuts that Trump wants to make are astounding. The White House has proposed $18 billion in domestic spending cuts for the next 6 months of fiscal year 2017, mostly related to education, labor and health. These are a sampling of the many proposed cuts:
- $3 billion from education programs, including cuts to after-school programs, financial aid for college students
- $1.6 billion in Housing & Urban Development Grants, including cuts to programs like Meals on Wheels
- $314 million reduction in disease prevention, funds which are used to prevent outbreaks of ebola, incidence of lead poisoning, and even to defend against bioterrorism
- $90 million in emergency response (FEMA) funding, which are used to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies
- $242 million in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding, jeopardizing access to clean air and water
- Massive cuts to a slew of critical government agencies, including U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), and National Institute of Health (NIH)
- Elimination of arts and culture programs, including cutting all funding for PBS and eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Trump’s Budget: More Funding for Military, Border Wall, and Deportation Force
Where does all the money from cuts to education, the environment, and public safety go? To expand the military and to fund anti-immigration policies like the border wall, detention facilities, and a mass deportation force. Indeed, Trump’s budget request proposes a $54 billion increase to the baseline defense budget paid for with a deep 10 percent cut to domestic spending—to programs like those listed above.
Donald Trump has also requested a supplemental funding request (often referred to simply as the “supplemental”) containing a $3 billion down payment on the border wall, detention camps, and his deportation force. He is asking Congress to pay to build his costly, harmful, and unnecessary border wall. He wants Congress to fund an increase in U.S. detention capacity and grow the number of ICE agents by the thousands, creating a mass deportation force of unprecedented size and power. Again, he plans to pay for this through cuts to other key programs Americans rely on.
Funding isn’t up to Trump, it’s up to Congress
Luckily, Donald Trump can’t eliminate or defund these programs all by himself—he needs Congress to do it for him. The “power of the purse” lies with Congress, meaning that it ultimately decides what to fund and what not to fund. And right now, Members of Congress are already negotiating what they will include in their funding bill. That means that you can still make a difference in what gets funded (and what does not).
Even though Congress ultimately decides what to fund, the president has a lot of power to influence what gets included in the spending bill. Donald Trump is trying to pressure Congress into gutting critical programs and funding his top priorities, including costly anti-immigrant policies that will harm millions of American families. It’s up to you to push back
Why is stopping funding for the wall and deportation force so important now?
Blocking funding to Trump’s mass deportation agenda is the best point of resistance that we have in Congress. Trump can give orders to the federal agencies to terrorize communities, tear families apart, and build a pointless wall—but he can’t give them the money to do that without Congress’ help. Stopping the flow of money is critical to limiting the damage that Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda can do.
Every dollar we keep out of the hands of the immigration enforcement machine means fewer agents terrorizing communities and less infrastructure to build out the detention and deportation machine even further.
Ask your MoC Not to Cut Key Programs and Not to Fund Trump’s Wall, Detention Camps or Mass Deportation Force.
Tell your MoC to invest in families, not walls, not ICE boots. Even with the April 28 deadline to pass a spending bill only weeks away, it’s still unclear whether Congress will pass another short-term funding bill or one that would fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. Whatever spending bill it passes, it’s important that it not include any funding for Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.
Congress must stop this NOW by blocking funding for the border wall, detention camps and mass deportation force. It will be harder and harder to fight his demands for more money later in the year if we do not stop him now.
What can you do during recess?
Your MoCs need to hear from you that you oppose cuts to social programs and oppose funding for his wall and mass deportation force. Congress will need to pass its spending bill immediately after returning from recess, so pressure during this period could make the difference for millions of families at risk of being separated and of losing access to programs like Meals on Wheels, housing, education, etc.
Additional Immigration Talking Points:
Stop Tearing Families Apart. The fight to stop the mass detention and deportation machine starts by halting Congress from funding it. Trump wants Congress to give him $3 billion dollars on top of the $20 billion budget for this year to speed up his deportation machine.
No Down Payment. This request for $3 billion—a down payment for the border wall, more detention space and immigration agents—is just the start of his plans to pay for his anti-immigrant, racist and xenophobic agenda. In the coming years, Trump will come back to Congress again and again asking for more taxpayer money.
Fund Families Not Walls. That’s money that should go to investing in families, our children and our future. That’s money that should go to creating jobs, rebuilding our failing infrastructure and training our veterans for better jobs. And that’s money that should go to health care for older Americans.
Every Dollar Matters. Trump’s deportation funding would pay for:
- More of the border wall, a hateful symbol of exclusion that will further hurt border communities and which has bipartisan opposition;
- More detention facilities; and
- More immigration enforcement agents to round people up and process them for deportation.
Town Hall or Office Visits Questions
ALWAYS try to incorporate a personal story when speaking with your MoCs. Below are sample questions for your MoCs on the Budget cuts and Trump’s deportation force:
- I [or family member] rely on some of the programs that Donald Trump is trying to cut or eliminate through his budget request. For example, my kids have watched PBS [or use some other program] for years, and now I hear it might get defunded. I think this is unacceptable. Will you commit to me, your constituent, that you will oppose any funding bill that makes unnecessary cuts to social programs like PBS, NEA, or EPA?
- There is broad consensus that we must do more to combat climate change. But instead of increasing funding for programs necessary to address climate change, Trump’s budget would completely decimate those programs. His budget would end funding for programs that help control power plant pollution, help states transition to clean energy, and that conduct research for energy innovation. Can you commit to me, your constituent, that you won’t agree to any budget that makes cuts to the EPA or other programs that protect our environment?
- I care deeply about keeping my country safe, but I don’t think that the plans Donald Trump has for his border wall and deportation force will increase our security or safety. Not only will they not make us any safer, but funding immigration enforcement will prevent us from paying for more important programs like education, housing, and meals on wheels. Can you commit to me, your constituent, that you will oppose the $3 billion request from the White House to fund the wall and mass deportation regime, and instead use those funds for investing in our communities?
- I keep hearing stories of fathers, mothers, and children being separated by immigration officers. And, now Donald Trump wants to spend even more money on creating a mass deportation force. We already spend over $20 billion a year to detain immigrants and tear families apart. We should not be spending even more money on mass deportations when we are cutting funds for education, jobs and veterans. Can you commit to me, your constituent, that you will oppose any additional money to fund the wall and mass deportation force?
- Since day one of Donald Trump’s campaign for president, he said many hateful and racist things about immigrants. Now he has made them a target for his administration. Immigration officers are terrorizing immigrant communities around the country, which only makes us less safe. Will you oppose any funding bill that instills even more terror in immigrant communities by voting NO on Trump’s request for an additional $3 billion for mass deportations and a wall?
- Donald Trump has given immigration officers free rein to go after immigrant families, which we’ve already seen has led to racial profiling and discrimination. Now he’s asking Congress to double the number of immigration officers. I think this will only make discrimination and racial profiling worse for [me, my family, neighbor, coworker]. Can you commit to me, your constituent, that you oppose the White House’s request for an additional $3 billion to fund the mass deportation regime?