Federal budget cuts could mean $2.5 billion loss for DC in 2018

WASHINGTON — It still needs Congressional approval, but as proposed, President Donald Trump’s federal budget would have a big impact on the D.C. area.

In order to direct a huge new influx of money toward the military and the border wall with Mexico, the budget includes major funding reductions elsewhere, including cuts of 21 percent for the Agriculture and Labor departments, 29 percent for the State Department, and 31 percent for the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Just about every agency that’s targeted for cutbacks is either headquartered in Washington or has a major presence in the region,” Stephen Fuller, professor of public policy at George Mason University, told WTOP.

“I think the threat is that we could lose as many as 15,000 federal jobs in 2018 if this were implemented,” said Fuller, who studies economic trends in the region. “It could be higher. I have an upper range to the forecast of just under 25,000.”

In his estimate, $2 billion to $2.5 billion in 2018 payroll would no longer flow into the region.

“That would spread this hurt to Main Street, to the local shopping centers. This money gets spent in the local economy, and it’s likely to be gone if this happens,” said Fuller.

Asked if the massive proposed increase in military spending would offset some of the job cuts, Fuller said he doesn’t think so.

“I can’t find any benefits in what’s being proposed. It’s largely personnel, Army and Marine Corps. It’s ships. It’s airplanes. It’s readiness. It’s deployments.”

CBS News White House Correspondent Steven Portnoy asked Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, about concerns that the proposal could hurt the local economy and even cause a drop in area property values.

“I work for the president of the United States,” Mulvaney responded. “The president of the United States, he represents the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and … Maryland. But he also represents the rest of this country.

“And I can assure you that we did not write this budget with an eye towards what it would do to the value of your condo.”

WTOP’s sister station Federal News Radio has more from Mulvaney on its website.

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