President Trump's budget proposes to abolish the Community Development Block Grant program, which provided $3 billion to local government programs this year, including about $2 million to the city of Chattanooga.
In the White House budget plan released today, the Office of Management and budget said the federal grants to cities and community agencies for discretionary spending programs to help the poor have not worked effectively.
"The federal government has spent over $150 billion on this block grant since its inception in 1974, but the program is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results," OMB said in its budget plan released today. "The (proposed fiscal 2018 budget from the White House) devolves community and economic development activities to the State and local level, and redirects Federal resources to other activities."
But Chattanooga City Council Member Chris Anderson, who went to Washington D.C. Wednesday to urge Congress to preserve the Community Development Block Grant program, said in a statement that the elimination of CDBG grants "could be catastrophic to urban life in America."
"We need to be investing in the areas hit hardest by economic downturn, not abandoning them," Anderson said. "In my own district, I know we rely on these funds each year to provide essential services."
President Trump's budget released today increases military spending and support for the Department of Veterans Affairs, but it proposes to cut federal spending next year for the Department of Education (down 13.5 percent), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (down 13.2 percent), the Department of Labor (down 20.7 percent), and the Environmental Protection Agency (down 31.4 percent).
Budget documents prepared for the Trump campaign last year identified the Chickamauga Lock replacement as one of 100 infrastructure projects that could be funded as part of the president's proposed $1 trillion of spending for infrastructure.
But the preliminary budget released today proposes to cut federal spending for the Army Corps of Engineers, which is paying for the $680 million replacement lock, by 16.3 percent from $6 billion to $5 billion in fiscal 2018.