Trump's Budget Plan Again Calls for Slashing Arts, Public Media Funding

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President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room at the White House Jan. 9, 2018 in Washington, DC.

For a second year, President Trump has proposed the elimination of federal funding for public media and the arts. The president's floated budget for fiscal year 2019 would slash the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's budget from $445 million to $15 million for FY19 and FY20, sums that would be used to "conduct an orderly transition away from federal funding."

The CPB is a private nonprofit created by Congress in 1967 to help support public TV and radio stations, namely PBS and NPR. Trump's budget argues that those organizations which benefit from CPB dollars could "make up the shortfall by increasing revenues from corporate sponsors, foundations and members."

Trump's FY18 budget proposed similar cuts to the CPB, though Congress eventually restored the funding in a spending bill signed in May.

CPB president and CEO Patricia Harrison rejected the budget's recomendation, saying "since there is no viable substitute for federal funding that would ensure this valued service continues, the elimination of federal funding to CPB would at first devastate, and then ultimately destroy public media’s ability to provide early childhood content, life-saving emergency alerts, and public affairs programs."

PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger added that they and their network of 350 member stations will again "remind leaders in Washington of the significant benefits the public receives in return for federal funding, a modest investment of about  $1.35 per citizen per year."

Elsewhere in Trump's proposed budget is a drastic reduction of funding to two federal agencies, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, in order for them to "begin shutting down" completely. Both agencies would see their funding drop from roughly $150 million in FY18 down to $29 million (NEA) and $42 million (NEH) for FY19.

Trump sought similar amounts of cuts to the two agencies in his FY18 budget, but Congress answered by increasing each of their allocations by $2 million.

"We understand that the President's budget request is a first step in a very long budget process," said NEA chairman Jane Chu. "We stand ready to assist in that process as we continue to operate as usual. As a federal government agency, the NEA cannot engage in advocacy, either directly or indirectly. We will, however, continue our practice of educating about the NEA's vital role in serving our nation’s communities."

Trump's $4.4 trillion budget also proposes dramatic cuts to the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency and other domestic agencies. It would also cut Medicare by half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years and put in place a 13 percent increase in defense spending. Also, $18 billion to pay for 65 miles of a border wall.

You can read Trump's budget proposal here. The document now must go to Congress as they begin their budget process.