| CHICAGO, March 16
CHICAGO, March 16 President Donald Trump has
proposed eliminating an international food aid program, halting
funding for clean water initiative in rural areas and reducing
county-level staff for a 21 percent drop in discretionary
spending at the Agriculture Department, according to a White
House budget document.
The proposal would save $498 million by eliminating a rural
water and wastewater loan and grant program, which the White
House proposal said was duplicative. The program helps fund
clean water and sewer systems in communities with less than
Other USDA areas targeted for cuts to reach the White
House's $17.9 billion discretionary spending budget include its
statistical capabilities and staffing at its county-level
The White House also said it would eliminate the
McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, which
provides donations of U.S. agricultural commodities to
food-deficit countries. The program, which had $182 million
earmarked in the fiscal-year 2017 USDA budget, "lacks evidence
that it is being effectively implemented to reduce food
insecurity," the document said.
The plans for spending at the USDA were released as part of
Trump’s budget blueprint, a broad outline of spending proposals
for the fiscal year ahead.
The blueprint does not cover "mandatory" spending
established by law, like farm subsidies, but only addresses
"discretionary" programs where lawmakers can adjust spending
from year to year.
The Trump White House has said it plans to release a
traditional full budget with a 10-year outlook for all
government spending and revenues in mid-May.
The budget plan calls for $6.2 billion in funding for the
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and
Children (WIC). That would be about $150 million less than the
estimated $6.35 billion the USDA said was budgeted in fiscal
2016. Under former Democratic President Barack Obama, the
program was reduced by $273 million between fiscal 2015 and
The WIC program is designed to help meet the basic
nutritional needs of low-income pregnant women, new mothers,
infants and children up to age five.
The USDA, founded in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln,
oversees the nation's agriculture and rural communities, as well
as nutritional programs, including funding for school lunches
and low-income families. The agency also publishes U.S. and
global farming production statistics, which are closely watched.
(Reporting by P.J. Huffstutter and Jo Winterbottom in Chicago;
Editing by Lisa Shumaker)