A new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll summarizes what many of us have suspected; most of the Trump administration’s budget is opposed by the majority of Americans. Some parts are even unpopular among his supporters. Below is a list of the least popular proposals according to that poll.
Opposed 58% – 28%
“I don’t like the concept – I don’t think it’s needed – of a 2,000-mile wall as some envision,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., whose state is home to some of the most rugged terrain along the border. “It’s just not needed. In some areas you just don’t need it. In some areas you need wall, in some areas you need fences. In some areas you need surveillance.” (AP)
Our border with Mexico is formed by the Rio Grande, which obviously cannot have a wall built in it. The banks of the river are governed by an international treaty that requires the wall to be built two miles north of the official border. This would require use of eminent domain and either access gaps for landowners or giving up land to Mexico. (Bloomberg)
Decreased Spending on Science and Medical Research
Opposed 64% – 19%, including 51% of Republicans
Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has expressed his opposition to this, and he has a great deal of power over the budget since Congress actually writes it. The administration has called for significant cuts to the NIH, CDC, and other entities that directly affect the health and well-being of Americans. This has led to scientists becoming more politically active, as evidenced by the March for Science, which will take place on Earth Day, April 22, 2017.
The budget would also do away with the NIH program for global health, Fogarty International Center. It trains medical personnel and researchers in developing countries and deals with diseases such as HIV, AIDS, Ebola, and diabetes, along with numerous others. At a cost of $70 million annually, it is a very small fraction of the overall budget, but the difference it makes is incomparable.
Cuts to Environment
Opposed 52% – 28%
“As to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward: We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said at a White House briefing on Thursday. “We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that.” (NYT)
The cut to NASA’s budget would be about one percent, but earth science and education would be cut in favor of other expenditures, basically eliminating any climate change studies. Experts are concerned this will make predicting significant weather events much more difficult in the future.
Cuts to Public TV and Arts
Opposed 44% – 32%
This is the first time a president has proposed completely cutting the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities. NPR receives less than two percent of its budget from the government; most of the CPB funds go directly to local stations. (NPR)
In a statement, NPR COO Loren Mayor said:
“Millions of Americans depend on their local public radio station for the fact-based, objective, public service journalism they need to stay informed about the world and about the news in their own communities. Public media serves the public interest with essential educational, news and cultural programming not found anywhere else, as well as vital information during local and regional emergencies. Federal funding is an essential ingredient to making this possible.”
However, Republicans have long maintained public television has a liberal bias and have looked for any opportunity to cut funds to it.
Based on this poll, if some or any of these proposals are included in the final budget, it should be another nail in the coffin for Republicans. This will greatly depend on whether Democrats get out and vote in the midterms in 2018. We absolutely must keep the momentum and let them know, at the voting booth, what we have told them in this poll.