Federal workers react to Trump's budget proposal

Federal workers react to Trump's budget proposal (ABC7)

President Trump’s $1.15 trillion budget proposal is getting cheers … and jeers.

Caught in the middle are the D.C. area’s 412,000 federal workers.

“End of days, and where do I go from here?” asked one EPA program analyst. “We’re not all lazy civil servants. We really care about our jobs and what we do.”

The White House plan would add $54 billion dollars to the Pentagon budget, a move cheered on by the military and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“What I’m encouraged by is the notion that we’re going to be rebuilding our military, which is something we’re all worried about,” Ryan said. “The hollowing out of our military, it’s something we believe in fixing.”

Retired US Air Force General Larry Spencer, speaking on NewsChannel 8’s “Government Matters” program, says “the Air Force is in really bad shape and needs the money, so this will be a really big boost for the Air Force.”

The plan would also budget an additional $3 billion for Homeland Security; the money used to build a border wall between the US and Mexico, and for immigration security.

All of this would come at a price: 18 agencies would see funding cuts, including the EPA, the State Department, Agriculture and Labor.

The EPA would be the hardest hit. A 31 percent cut, about $2.6 billion in spending slashed. 3,200 positions would be eliminated and 50 programs would be shuttered.

“That’s a hefty cut,” a 30 year federal employee told ABC7 News. “Probably 80 percent of the people around here work for the government. I’m sure the people in these agencies are concerned.”

The budget also cuts $3 billion in affordable housing, community developmen, and homelessness programs.

That drew the ire of critics on the Democratic side.

“Great for Wall Street,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. “Terrible for community banks and economic development.”

Metro area environmental groups are especially incensed over the elimination of funding for the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup.

“The president proposes the budget, Congress has to pass it,” declares Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “They can put the money back in.”

Baker says he was shocked to learn the Trump plan would reduce funding for the cleanup, from $73 million to zero.

“Nowhere near done,” he says. “We’ve got decades left to get the bay 100 percent safe. But it’s finally going in the right direction, and this pulls out the rug from out under it.”

Lawmakers are dealing with a May deadline to come up with a plan.

The cuts would be the most impactful since the drawdown after World War II.

Federal employees, already dealing with a hiring freeze, say the future is now more stressful than ever.

“We just don’t know what’s next, and that’s the hardest part about it,” says one EPA worker.

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