The Trump administration plans to release its first budget proposal within the upcoming weeks, a document that will emphasize defense spending at the cost of other agencies, with implications for their workforces. Officials said this week that he will seek a 10 percent boost in defense spending, $54 billion, plus additional money for veterans programs and infrastructure projects; the White House previously announced plans to boost homeland security spending as well, including adding a total of 15,000 Border Patrol officers and immigration agents. Those increases would be offset by cuts elsewhere, exempting entitlement programs, averaging about 10 percent and falling more heavily on some agencies–potentially, such as the EPA and IRS–than on others. When federal agencies are hit with budget cuts affecting their general accounts, they typically look first to reducing expenses on travel, training, equipment and other overhead before targeting their workforce. However, the size of the cuts being discussed could far exceed the savings possible through such moves, and employee organizations already are raising the prospect of furloughs and RIFs. The upcoming proposal is to be a shortened version of the annual White House budget that begins the annual budget process in Congress, with further details to follow in several months. The administration further might use its proposal to spell out its separately announced intent to combine agency functions it considers duplicative and to abolish those it considers undesired or ineffective–which also would in turn lead to a reduction in jobs needed to carry them out. However, a White House budget proposal is only the start of a long process that requires the approval of Congress, and the final outcome often bears little resemblance to the original plan.
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