Senator Van Hollen speaks the Indivisible Baltimore town hall.

The first battle of the budgets: Trump cuts were pushed back and Marylanders won

While Trump’s made his real priorities clear in his first 100 days in office — giveaways for the wealthy at the expense of working people — I’ve worked with concerned citizens to fight back and make important investments in Maryland and America’s future.

As a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, I worked with my colleagues to push back on President Trump’s harmful budget proposals that would have hurt Maryland and our country. And this week, we passed a budget plan that not only avoids a government shutdown, but also is a big win for Marylanders: It includes funding for key priorities, like the Chesapeake Bay Program, medical research at the NIH, operations at the Port of Baltimore, Community Development Block Grants for local economic development, the Purple Line transit system, WMATA, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and important rural programs.

We were able to get this done because people in Maryland and across the country made their voices heard. When President Trump released his budget plan last month, I immediately began to receive phone calls, emails, tweets, and comments online from concerned Marylanders — and for good reason.

The budget that the Trump Administration put forward would have been a disaster for our state. It slashed funding for job-creating transportation projects, for lifesaving research at institutions like the NIH, and for economic development across the state. And the Trump budget completely eliminated programs responsible for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, growing our rural economies in Western Maryland with programs like ARC, expanding economic development in urban areas with CDBG grants, creating new transit projects, and expanding educational opportunities through afterschool programs.

Here are some of the things we fought for and Marylanders won:

  • The Chesapeake Bay Program is fully funded at $73 million, including $6 million for nutrient and sediment removal grants and $6 million for small watershed grants;
  • NIH funding is increased by $2 billion, bringing the total to $34 billion for innovative medical research;
  • The Purple Line received funding to get the transit project ready to move forward once approval is secured;
  • WMATA will receive $150 million for capital and preventative maintenance expenditures;
  • The FBI received a big down payment on its consolidation and modernization plan. It’s considering Prince George’s County for its new headquarters and I’m working hard to ensure that it locates there.
  • The Community Development Block Grant Program is receiving $3 billion so our communities can make vital investments in affordable housing, job creation, and business retention;
  • NASA’s funding is increased by $368 million, keeping the PACE and DSCOVR Earth programs at Goddard intact;
  • The Port of Baltimore, a major economic driver for the city and the state, is benefiting from over $80 million;
  • Head Start’s funding is increased to $9.2 billion;
  • Afterschool programs’ funding is increased by $25 million, totaling to $1.19 billion;
  • Funding to fight the opioid epidemic received an additional $600 million;

The budget agreement also includes funds help many rural Marylanders, including funding for programs specifically in Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

  • Appalachian Regional Commission’s funding is increased by $6 million, bringing the total to $152 million. In partnership with the Maryland Department of Planning, ARC has supported 20 projects in Maryland totaling nearly $2.6 million since 2015. These investments have been matched by $9.9 million and will attract an additional $10.4 million in leveraged private investments in Maryland.
  • $2.94 billion for rural development programs, including $920 million for the rural business and industry loan program and $1.8 billion for rural water and waste program loans and grants
  • $1 billion in direct loans for low-income rural families to purchase homes
  • $1.4 billion for rental assistance for affordable housing in rural communities
  • $24 billion in rural housing guaranteed loans

But the budget fight is not yet over. This week President Trump called for a government shutdown this September because he didn’t get his way.

I have news for President Trump — there is no such thing as a ‘good’ government shutdown. These comments from a president are unprecedented. The 16 day shutdown in 2013 cost our economy over $24 billion and disrupted services nationally. Normally we would expect the leader of a hostile foreign power to be rooting for a U.S. government shutdown that would greatly hurt our economy and our national security.

As we continue through the next 100 days of the Trump Administration, I’m committed to keeping up this fight so Maryland has the resources it needs to: support good-paying jobs; build and manage our bridges, roads, transit, broadband; clean up the Bay; and continue innovative, lifesaving research.