As a reminder to our readers, the president’s budget, released each February, is a nonbinding proposal. It represents the recommendations of the administration; however, Congress will ultimately decide the actual budget. It’s important to pay attention to the document to understand where the administration’s priorities lie, but there is nothing final or certain about this proposal. Many of the cuts proposed are not supported by Congress.

The Trump administration released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2021 last week, which is set to kick off this fiscal year’s appropriations process. The budget proposes robust defense spending and deep cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending as well as non-defense mandatory spending. The president’s budget proposal breaks with the bipartisan two-year budget agreement that Congress passed and the president signed into law only a few months ago. The two-year budget agreement provides $626.5 billion for NDD spending in fiscal year 2021, while the president’s budget requests only $590 billion in base NDD funding.

The president’s budget proposes slashing Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by almost $1 trillion over the next 10 years. It also wipes out the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) contingency fund and cuts the program $21 billion over 10 years. The Department of Education proposal would eliminate 29 education programs and consolidates them into one large block grant. Some of the programs eliminated and consolidated into this block grant include: Title I Grants to LEA’s, Migrant Education, Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, and Education for Homeless Children and Youth, among many others. 

Deeper Analysis of Agencies

Department of Agriculture

  • Child Nutrition Programs – A $20 million decrease proposed; $1.7 billion cut over 10 years.
  • SNAP – Decreases the program based on the rules the administration proposed in 2019. Trump’s budget would also cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $182 billion over 10 years, thus continuing the administration’s attack on the largest nutrition assistance program serving children in the country. In total, the administration proposes over $4 trillion in cuts over the next decade.

Corporation for National and Community Service

  • Proposed to eliminate the entire Corporation for National and Community Service – AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, VISTA, etc. Trump has proposed this in every budget since coming into office.

Department of Education

  • Overall a $6.1 billion decrease (8.4%) proposed to the Department of Education.
  • Trump’s new education freedom scholarship (tax credit for people who donate to school choice scholarship programs) was included.
  • Block Granting of ESSA Programs - Proposed ESSA block granting, eliminating every K-12 programs, 29 programs would be eliminated and consolidated into one large block grant. Includes title I, McKinney Vento, 21st Century Learning Centers, etc. In total, $4.68 billion cut, which is about 19.4%.
  • IDEA – Received level funding in proposal.
  • Career and Technical Education – Received $750 million increase in proposal.
  • TRIO – Consolidates TRIO into a single block grant, $140 million cut across all TRIO programs (same as last year’s request).
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness – Would eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (for people who work in government and nonprofit positions).

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

  • Overall proposed cut of $8.6 billion to HUD, about 15% below 2020 enacted levels.
  • HOME Investment Partnership Program – Proposes elimination.
  • Community Development Block Grant – Proposes elimination.
  • Would cut public housing operating funds by 21%.
  • Housing Choice Voucher – Proposes cutting by $5 billion, which would put about 160,000 people at risk of losing assistance.
  • Full chart of cuts to HUD.

Department of Health and Human Services - Health

  • Medicaid – Proposes cutting $920 billion over 10 years. Four cuts to Medicaid add up to this. Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Includes Medicaid block grant proposal. 
  • CHIP – Proposes changing to a supplemental fund. $2 billion in cuts to CHIP. 

Department of Health and Human Services – Administration of Children and Families

  • Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) – Proposes $1.3 million increase to CCDBG (mandatory) and flat funding for discretionary CCDBG.
  • Head Start – Level funded.
  • Preschool Development Grants – Proposed for elimination.
  • Social Service Block Grant – Proposed for elimination.
  • Modifies services component of Family First Prevention Services Act – Programs rated as well supported, supported, or promising. Now proposing to align it with the California clearinghouse. Try and clarify the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) definition and exempt Qualified Residential Treatment Programs from IMD.
  • Foster care – Proposed increase of $227 million to a total of $5.796 billion.
  • Adoption assistance – Proposed increase of $372 million for a total of $3.8 billion.
  • Kinship and Guardianship Assistance – Proposed increase of $29 million, for total of $271 million.
  • Chafee Independent Living – Level funding.
  • Education and Training Vouchers – Level funding.
  • Promoting Safe and Stable Families – Level funding.
  • Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program – Level funding.
  • Maternal and Child Health Block Grant – Proposed increase of $73 million to total of $760 million.
  • Social Services Block Grant – Proposed for elimination.
  • Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA) – Increases the CAPTA discretionary program for a vaguely worded new demonstration project by $16 million.
  • CAPTA State Grants – Level funding.
  • CAPTA Community-Based Grants – Level funding.
  • Adoption Opportunities – Level funding.
  • Child Care Development Block Grant – Level funding.
  • Head Start – Level funding.
  • Consolidated Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs – Level funding.
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Children and Youth – Proposed for elimination.
  • TANF – Administration proposal would cut $1.6 billion and add in $100 million for demonstration grants. Eliminates the $608 million contingency fund.
  • Child Care and Development Fund – Proposes a one-year $1 billion temporary increase.

Department of Justice

  • The release of the fiscal year 2021 budget provides a list of agencies that the administration recommends are either modified or terminated, and that includes the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which is an independent body created under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) to coordinate federal programs related to delinquency prevention and missing and exploited children. See page 199 of this document.
  • As with the last three budgets from the current administration, it requests $58 million for Title II of the JJDPA and $17 million for Title V, of which $2 million is for the prevention of trafficking of girls, $5 million is for tribal youth programs, $500,000 for a website for children of incarcerated parents, $2 million for girls in the juvenile justice system, $9 million for an opioid-affected youth initiative, and $8 million for children exposed to violence. See pages 40-41 of this document. This is $101 million below the authorizing level, which is $176 million per year. 
  • There's also on overall cut for juvenile justice programs – The president's budget indicates $227.5 million, whereas enacted levels are currently at $320 million.
  • Separately, they request $5.5 million for gang and youth violence education, prevention and intervention, and related activities.


  • $2 billion to construct an additional 82 miles of wall on Mexican border.
  • $3.1 billion to increase capacity of immigration detention centers to house 60,000 people, even though Congress has ordered the administration to decrease capacity to 40,000.
  • $4 billion for unaccompanied migrant children once they are transferred to custody of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.
  • $1.6 billion to significantly increase staffing across the immigration agencies. Would hire more border patrol agents and customs enforcement (ICE), and 100 new immigration judges.
  • $126 million to support Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “remain in Mexico” policy, where migrants have been sent back to Mexico to wait on a decision on their asylum applications.
  • Cuts total foreign aid by 21%.

Department of Labor

  • Eliminates Indian and Native Programs and Community Service Employment for Older Americans.
  • Cuts state workforce grants, which has been cut by 40% over the last two decades.
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act – Level funded adult, youth, and dislocated worker funding.
  • Apprenticeships – Proposed increasing apprenticeship grants by $25 million.
  • Job Corps – Proposed cut to the Job Corps program of $727 million.
  • YouthBuild – Proposed to cut YouthBuild by $10 million.
  • Adult Education - Level Funded.

Read the full budget

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