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Snapshot: What Trump’s budget does agency-by-agency

The White House has proposed cutting the Education Dept. in half, EPA by a third, and the Justice Department by a fifth but nearly all departments would see cuts if this budget is passed.

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Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speak to the media about President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget in the Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

How President Donald Trump’s proposed $4.1 trillion federal spending plan would affect individual government agencies.

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AGRICULTURE

Up or down? Down 5 percent

Graphic shows Trump FY 2018 budget breakdown

Highlight: The proposed budget would limit subsidies to farmers, including a cut in government help for purchasing crop insurance. Crop insurance is an overwhelmingly popular program with farm-state senators in both parties, and previous farm bills have only increased spending. The budget would also limit spending on environmentally friendly conservation programs and some rural development dollars that help small towns build infrastructure.

Trump isn’t the first president to try to limit farm subsidies. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush also proposed major reductions, but farm-state lawmakers have always kept them going. The Republican chairmen of the Senate and House agriculture committees both said Tuesday they oppose Trump’s proposed cuts.

Total spending: $132.3 billion.

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $18 billion.

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COMMERCE

Up or down? Down 15.4 percent

Highlight: The budget would eliminate three economic development agencies and several grant programs aimed at preserving the environment and dealing with climate change. The Minority Business Development Agency, the Economic Development Administration and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership would be eliminated.

The budget would also eliminate several grant programs run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: the Sea Grant, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, Coastal Zone Management Grants, the Office of Education and the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.

Total spending: $8 billion.

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $7.8 billion.

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DEFENSE

Up or down? Up 3.3 percent

Highlight: The Pentagon’s proposed 2018 budget would fund increases of almost 43,000 in the size of the active duty military and 13,000 in the Reserves. It provides troops a 2.1 percent pay raise, adds F/A-18 fighter jets and seeks a new round of base closures, which Congress routinely rejects. It also increases the amount of money used for training Afghan forces and conducting counterterror operations in Afghanistan. The budget includes $64.6 billion for military operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Africa.

Total spending: $647 billion.

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $639.1 billion.

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EDUCATION

Up or down? Down 46.9 percent

Highlight: Eliminates after-school and teacher training programs, ends subsidized federal student loans and loan forgiveness programs for public servants, funds year-round Pell grants and expands funding for school choice for low-income students.

Total spending: $61 billion

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $59 billion

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ENERGY

Up or Down? Down 5.7 percent

Highlight: Trump’s budget would sell off nearly half the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, 270 million barrels, over the next 10 years as a way to reduce the budget deficit. The reserve is an emergency fuel storage maintained underground in Louisiana and Texas. Budget director Mick Mulvaney said the sale would not cause a security risk because of an increase in oil production from fracking. The administration says the plan would bring in a projected $17 billion over 10 years.

The budget also would hike spending for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is responsible for maintaining the nuclear stockpile, while cutting other energy spending. The budget seeks $120 million to revive the mothballed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, which is hugely unpopular in Nevada and was largely stopped by the efforts of former Democratic Sen. Harry Reid.

Total spending: $28 billion

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $28 billion

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

Up or down? Down 31 percent.

Highlight: The budget cuts EPA by nearly one-third, eliminating more than 3,800 jobs while imposing dramatic cuts to clean air and water programs. Adjusted for inflation, the proposed budget would represent the nation’s lowest funding for environmental protection since the mid-1970s. The Superfund pollution cleanup program would be cut by $330 million, to $762 million.

Total spending: $5.7 billion.

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $5.7 billion.

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HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Up or down? Down 1.3 percent

Highlight: The budget initiates deep cuts to health insurance programs for people with modest incomes, including coverage for children. Those cuts would go beyond the House GOP bill that repeals much of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” and limits future federal financing for Medicaid.

Total spending: $1.1 trillion

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $65.3 billion

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HOMELAND SECURITY

Up or down? Down 3.2 percent

Highlight: The budget asks Congress for $2.6 billion for border security that would include a down payment for Trump’s long-promised wall and increased technology along the U.S.-Mexican border. The budget calls for $314 million to hire 500 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It also requests a $1.5 billion increase for ICE to arrest, detain and deport immigrants in the country illegally. The plan also proposes cutting about $667 million in grants administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That includes proposed cuts to the Urban Area Security Initiative and eliminating the Transportation Security Administration’s law enforcement grants.

Total spending: $49.4 billion

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $44.1 billion

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HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

Up or down? Down 22.9 percent

Highlight: The budget would eliminate HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program, a $3 billion effort that funds local improvement projects, affordable housing construction and other social supports like meals for seniors and enrichment programs for low-income children. The budget proposal says the program is not well targeted to poor populations and hasn’t showed measurable impact on communities. The administration’s budget also seeks to cut costs to the department’s rental assistance programs — a $2 billion decrease to $35.2 billion. Rental assistance programs comprise about 80 percent of the agency’s total funding.

Total spending: $40 billion.

Estimated spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $40 billion.

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INTERIOR

Up or Down? Down 9.2 percent

Highlight: The budget calls for opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, where it is now prohibited, while eliminating offshore oil revenues used by Gulf Coast states to restore disappearing shorelines. Arctic drilling, a contentious issue that would require congressional approval, would generate an estimated $400 million a year in tax revenues by 2022, according to the White House. Elimination of revenue-sharing to the four Gulf Coast states — Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas — would generate $1.6 billion over the next five years, the document says. The proposal also includes money for seismic surveys to provide data for possible offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean where it is now barred.

The budget would cut $10 million from a program to manage wild horses and burros in the West and allow the Bureau of Land Management to sell or euthanize thousands of horses that now roam in Nevada, Oregon and other western states. More than 70,000 wild horses and burros roam federal lands across the West, a number that officials call unsustainable.

Total spending: $12.5 billion

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $11.7 billion

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JUSTICE

Up or down? Down 19.1 percent

Highlight: The budget adds $26 million for 300 new assistant U.S. attorneys to fight gangs, violent crime and illegal immigration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has identified those areas as his top priorities. The plan calls for 230 of these prosecutors to be stationed in yet-to-be-named cities deemed hot spots for violence.

Another 70 will be assigned to border states, focusing on those who enter and re-enter the country illegally after deportation, as well as document-fraud, human smuggling, drug trafficking and other immigration-related offenses.

Total spending: $31.6 billion.

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $27.7 billion

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LABOR

Up or down? Down 3.3 percent.

Highlight: Trump is proposing cuts in job training programs including $434 million for the Senior Community Service Employment Program, $238 million by closing Job Corps centers, and $68 million for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. He is proposing $90 million for apprenticeships that result in jobs and a parental leave program of six weeks.

Total spending: $45.8 billion.

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $9.7 billion

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NASA

Up or down? Down 1.2 percent

Highlight: The budget cancels five planned missions to observe Earth and monitor climate change, saving $191 million. It eliminates an Obama-era mission to send astronauts to an asteroid. It also slashes NASA education spending by two-thirds and makes smaller cuts to exploration and space operations, along with increases in spending to explore other planets.

Total spending: $19.1 billion.

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $19.1 billion

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STATE

Up or down? Down 31.7 percent

Highlight: Eliminates funding for the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, as part of a $780 million cut to international organizations. Also eliminates $1.6 billion in funding for climate change and slashes assistance for refugees and global health. That includes $222 million cut in an international fund for fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Proposal also ends $523 million for international family planning programs.

Total spending: $40.2 billion.

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $40.2 billion, includes $12 billion from the Overseas Contingency Account.

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TRANSPORTATION

Up or down? Down 2.2 percent.

Highlight: Trump proposes that the government pay $200 billion toward the $1 trillion cost of improving the nation’s infrastructure — rebuilding aging roads, bridges, water systems and more. Private investments would pay the rest, under his plan. He’s also suggesting cutting grants to Amtrak long distance services by $630 million and reducing the Highway Trust Fund by $95 billion over a decade.

Total spending: $75.7 billion

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $16.2 billion

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TREASURY

Up or down? Up 6.7 percent

Highlight: Treasury oversees the Internal Revenue Service and the agency responsible for managing the government’s payment systems. The IRS would see a 2.1 percent budget cut, but says it will continue to seek less costly ways of delivering taxpayer services. Trump’s budget would provide increased investment for cybersecurity as well as implementing the sanctions program to combat terrorist financing. The budget would also seek initial funding to replace the aging Washington facility for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing that produces the nation’s paper currency.

Total spending: $601 billion

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $12.1 billion

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VETERANS AFFAIRS

Up or down? Up 3.7 percent

Highlight: The budget proposes a $4.3 billion increase in discretionary spending, mostly to pay for medical care at more than 1,200 VA facilities nationwide serving about 9 million enrolled veterans. That’s a 5.8 percent increase as the Department of Veterans Affairs expands its network to include more private health providers. The budget also calls for $2.9 billion in mandatory budget authority for 2018 and $3.5 billion in 2019 to pay for expansion of the Veterans Choice private-sector program. To help pay for rising costs from that program, the VA would cap the amount of educational benefits veterans receive under the GI bill to roughly $21,000 a year and halt “individual unemployability” benefit payments to out-of-work disabled veterans once they reach retirement age.

Total spending: $183.1 billion

Spending that needs Congress’ annual approval: $78.8 billion

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Colorado, Arizona teachers pressure lawmakers for 2nd day

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Colorado and Arizona teachers plan to don red shirts and descend upon their respective Capitols for a second day in a growing educator uprising.

Educators in both states want more classroom resources and have received offers either for increased school funding or pay, but they say the money isn’t guaranteed and the efforts don’t go far enough. The walkouts are the latest in demonstrations that spread from West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

On the first day of the historic statewide walkout, around 50,000 educators and their supporters marched Thursday through downtown Phoenix in nearly 100-degree (38-Celsius) heat and swarmed the Capitol grounds.

In much cooler Colorado, several thousand educators rallied around the Capitol, with many using personal time to attend two days of protests expected to draw as many as 10,000 demonstrators.

Lawmakers in Colorado have agreed to give schools their largest budget increase since the Great Recession. But teachers say Colorado has a long way to go to recover lost ground because of strict tax and spending limits.

Arizona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, has proposed 20 percent raises by 2020 and said he has no plans to meet with striking teachers or address other demands.

Teachers voted to walkout after Ducey unveiled his plan, saying that it failed to meet their other demands including about $1 billion to return school funding to pre-Great Recession levels and increased pay for support staff.

“We’re going to get this 20 percent pay increase, we’re going to get $100 million for support staff and other needs,” he said on KTAR radio. “And then if there’s still a teacher strike I don’t think that will make sense to parents, I don’t think that will make sense to kids.”

More than 840,000 students were out of school as a result of Thursday’s walkouts, according to figures from The Arizona Republic.

Most of Arizona’s public schools will be closed the rest of the week, and about half of all Colorado students will see their schools shuttered over the two days as teachers take up the Arizona movement’s #RedforEd mantle. In Oklahoma and West Virginia, teacher strikes stretched beyond the one-week mark.

Organizers say they haven’t decided how long their walkout will last.

“We want to make sure we can gauge the membership about what they want to do,” said Derek Harris, one of the organizers of grass-roots group Arizona Educators United.

At least one Arizona school district, the Chandler Unified School District, has said school will be held on Monday. The district said it polled staff and determined there are enough teachers to re-open.

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Associated Press reporter Bob Christie contributed to this report.

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Robert Kennedy gets the Netflix treatment, new doc explores the the icon

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He was once called the most likely American in the 20th century to become president. But Robert F. Kennedy’s bid to follow in his older brother’s footsteps as commander in chief was cut short the same way John F. Kennedy’s White House term was: by a man with a gun.

Fifty years later, Bobby Kennedy’s life and transformation into a liberal hero is coming to Netflix in a new four-part documentary series available Friday. Through archival footage and interviews with friends and staffers, “Bobby Kennedy for President” takes an in-depth look at what drove him to seek public office, the events that shaped him and his legacy decades after his assassination.

“If we want to understand why Bobby Kennedy was so important to people, we have to understand all of it,” said Dawn Porter, director and executive producer, also known for “Gideon’s Army” and “Trapped.”

The series opens with a broadcaster’s prediction that “no American in this century has ever been so likely to be president as Robert Francis Kennedy.” It takes viewers through Kennedy’s combative time as attorney general, and his depression after his brother’s death, entry into the 1968 presidential race and assassination 83 days later.

The documentary explores Kennedy’s growth on issues like civil rights, through the guidance of black leaders like John Lewis, now a Democratic congressman. In documenting Kennedy’s journey from a “cop-at-heart” lawyer to polished politician, it highlights experiences that affected him, like a trip to the Mississippi Delta that opened his eyes to rural hunger.

Viewers hear from key figures in Kennedy’s life, including Paul Schrade, who was shot in the head when 24-year-old Sirhan Sirhan fired at Kennedy on June 5, 1968. The series, produced by RadicalMedia, Trilogy Films and LooksFilm, also features interviews from Sirhan’s brother, Munir Sirhan, and Juan Romero, the Ambassador Hotel busboy who was at Kennedy’s side as he uttered his last words: “Is everybody OK?”

For Romero, a Mexican immigrant, it was one of the few times he has openly spoken about Kennedy’s death — something he had felt guilty about for years since Kennedy stopped to shake his hand before the gunshots. Romero had met Kennedy the day before while delivering room service. Kennedy thanked him and shook his hand then, too.

“I never felt so American,” Romero told The Associated Press.

Filmmakers spent more than a year gathering footage from museums, news outlets and presidential archives that transports viewers to a different time. Some of the footage, which shows Kennedy from his college days to the last day of his life, had never before been digitized and was at risk of being lost forever, filmmakers say.

“I didn’t want this to be talking heads with pictures as the background,” Porter said. “We wanted the archive to play out, to not be window dressing, but to let people watch that and absorb it and hopefully be in the moment, be taken back to that time,” she said.

At a time when distrust of politicians is high, Porter said she hopes the series reminds viewers that people serving in public office can be human and flawed, but also inspirational.

“Without saying (Kennedy) was the perfect person, there’s something comforting and inspiring to me about his willingness to try, his willingness to learn, his willingness to not give up,” Porter said. “Right now we all need a little dose of not giving up.”

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Associated Press reporter Russell Contreras in Albuquerque, New Mexico, contributed to this report. Follow Alanna Durkin Richer at http://twitter.com/aedurkinricher. Read more of her work at http://bit.ly/2hIhzDb.

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Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

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Explained: Why Colorado, Arizona teachers are walking off the job

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Tens of thousands of schoolteachers plan to walk off the job in Arizona and Colorado on Thursday, shuttering classrooms in pursuit of better pay and school funding.

But there are key differences between the protests in the two states, which share below-average spending on public schools. The actions build on a movement that spread from West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in Arizona and Colorado:

WHAT ARE TEACHERS PLANNING AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

Teachers will walk off the job to hold rallies and other demonstrations at their respective state Capitols.

In Arizona, the first-ever statewide strike starts Thursday after educators voted overwhelmingly in favor of the action. There’s no end date scheduled, so it’s not clear how long classes might be interrupted.

Educators who are planning to participate could face consequences in the right-to-work state, where unions do not collectively bargain with school districts and representation is not mandatory.

The Arizona Education Association, the largest teacher membership group, has warned its 20,000 members about a 1971 Arizona attorney general opinion saying a statewide strike would be illegal under common law and participants could lose their teaching credentials.

But no school district has said they would fire educators who strike or revoke teaching certificates.

In Colorado, teachers in four suburban school districts, including two of the largest in the state, will hold protests Thursday. But the bulk of the widespread walkouts will happen as a single-day demonstration Friday.

No laws in Colorado prohibit strikes. In response to recent national protests, a Republican lawmaker proposed a measure docking teacher pay and threatening fines and jail time for striking. Democrats oppose it, and it’s not expected to pass the politically divided Legislature.

WHAT ARE THE DEMANDS?

Arizona teachers have a long list, including a 20 percent raise for teachers, who earn $47,403 annually compared with a national average of $59,660, according to 2017 data from the National Education Association. They also want yearly raises until their salaries reach the national average and competitive wages for classified staffers.

They are seeking a return to pre-Great Recession spending levels, which would be a roughly $1 billion increase annually, plus additional funding increases until Arizona reaches the national average in per-pupil spending.

In Colorado, teachers secured a $150 million annual boost to schools in this year’s budget negotiations but want to wipe out an annual school funding shortfall within the next four years. After next year’s boost, Colorado will underfund its schools by $672 million a year versus what’s required by the state Constitution.

Colorado teachers don’t have specific demands regarding salaries, because they are set at the local level. But the hope is that more state funding will trickle down in the form of better pay. The average Colorado teacher earned $51,808 in 2017, according to the national teacher salary data.

Complicating matters, lawmakers are negotiating sweeping changes to the state and school pension fund, which will likely cut teacher retirement benefits and could decrease their take-home pay. Educators say they hope their protests highlight that any changes to the pension fund could further erode their compensation.

HOW ARE STATE LEADERS RESPONDING?

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona has offered teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020 and pledged to see his proposal through despite concerns on how to fund it.

Ducey’s plan relies on higher-than-expected state revenue. Republican legislative leaders have questioned where the money might come from and are negotiating the plan this week.

Colorado lawmakers have secured a bipartisan deal to boost school funding but are negotiating on the pension changes. Republicans want public employees, including teachers, to put more of their own pay into the system to close a $32 billion funding gap. Democrats have countered with a plan to contribute $225 million in annual state funding to shore up the fund.

WHAT DOES THE WALKOUT MEAN FOR SCHOOLS, TEACHERS AND PARENTS?

In both states, school districts have been weighing whether to stay open or cancel classes.

Many in Arizona, including the state’s largest district in suburban Phoenix, will be closed at least Thursday and Friday. Some have said they will try to stay open if they have enough staff.

Many parents are scrambling to make child care plans. Community groups are organizing day camps, churches are opening for free care and some stay-at-home parents are volunteering to watch others’ children.

Colorado’s largest district, Denver Public Schools, will be closed Friday, along with more than a dozen others. Four others, including large suburban districts in Jefferson and Douglas counties, will be shuttered Thursday but are expected to reopen Friday.

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading

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