Trump budget plan to propose major cuts for State Dept, EPA: NY Times

WASHINGTON, March 15 (Reuters) - A budget proposal to be released by U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday includes deep cuts for the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency as his administration seeks to raise military spending, the New York Times said on Wednesday.

The budget plan for fiscal 2018 will call for cuts of 28 percent for the State Department and 31 percent for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Times reported, citing congressional staff members familiar with the plan.

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Exxon Mobil Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Rex Tillerson speaks at a news conference following the Exxon Mobil annual shareholders meeting in Dallas, Texas May 30, 2007. Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday that the construction of the Mackenzie pipeline project in Canada was not viable at current cost levels.

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson look on at a signing ceremony in the Black Sea resort of Sochi August 30, 2011. Exxon and Russia's Rosneft signed a deal on Tuesday to develop oil and gas reserves in the Russian Arctic, opening up one of the last unconquered drilling frontiers to the global industry No.1.

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Executives from six major oil companies are sworn in to testify at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the "Consolidation in the Oil and Gas Industry: Raising Prices?" on Capitol Hill in Washington March 14, 2006. The executives are (L-R) Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil Corp., James Mulva, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, David O'Reilly, Chairman and CEO of Chevron Corp., Bill Klesse, CEO of Valero Energy Corp., John Hofmeister, President of Shell Oil Company and Ross Pillari, President and CEO of BP America Inc.

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ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson speaks during the IHS CERAWeek 2015 energy conference in Houston, Texas April 21, 2015.

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Chairman, President and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation Rex Tillerson watches a tee shot on the 13th hole during the first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club course in Pebble Beach, California, February 6, 2014.

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Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil; John Watson, chairman and CEO of Chevron Corp.; James Mulva, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips; Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Co.; and Lamar McKay, president and chairman of BP America Inc.; are sworn in during the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing on their safety practices as oil continues to leak into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig - operated by BP - exploded last month.

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ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson speaks during the IHS CERAWeek 2015 energy conference in Houston, Texas April 21, 2015.

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WASHINGTON, DC - May 12: James Mulva, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips; and Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp.; during the Senate Finance hearing on oil and gas tax incentives.

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Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation Rex W. Tillerson and Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg attends the United Nations Foundation's global leadership dinner at The Pierre Hotel on November 8, 2011 in New York City.

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Rex Tillerson, chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corp., left, speaks with Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates Inc., during the 2015 IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. CERAWeek 2015, in its 34th year, will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue with decision-makers in the oil and gas, electric power, coal, renewables, and nuclear sectors from around the world.

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Renda St. Clair and Rex Tillerson attend the reopening celebration at Ford's Theatre on February 11, 2009 in Washington, DC.

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Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, listens during a meeting at the Department of the Interior September 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. Secretary of the Interior Kenneth L. Salazar hosted Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Gulf Oil Spill National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen (Ret.), representatives from the private sector and others to discus strengthening the containment abilities to deep water oil and gas well blowouts like the recent BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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It will also propose a big reduction in the State Department's Food for Peace program and the elimination of a Transportation Department program that subsidizes flights to rural U.S. airports, the Times said.

Trump's budget proposals include cuts in federal government agencies that have been targeted by Republican Party politicians for decades but historically protected by Congress which under law holds the federal purse strings.

His administration is seeking to boost military spending by $54 billion and seek cuts of the same size in non-defense programs. Early drafts described by government officials call for dramatic cuts at some agencies.

"They're really going to be cutting into bone," said Kenneth Baer, a former associate director at the Office of Management and Budget who helped draft President Barack Obama's first four budgets.

The document will begin months of debate on government spending, with Democrats and moderate Republicans worried the budget could force tough decisions on popular programs such as aid for disabled children and hot meals for the elderly, and conservatives pushing for more cuts down the line.

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Donald Trump with Alfred Eisenpreis, New York City Economic Development Administrator. Sketch of new 1,400 room Renovation project of Commodore Hotel.

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Donald Trump pauses in his apartment 5/20 after receiving the news that the Board of Estimate unanimously approved a 40-year tax abatement plan. Under the plan Trump will purchase and refurbish the Commodore Hotel, which closed into doors 5/18, from the Penn Central Transportation Corp. In return for his $10-million-dollar purchase and up to $100 million face-lifting investment, Trump will have no real estate taxes for 40 years.

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Real estate developer Donald Trump announces intentions to build a $100 million dollar Regency Hotel.

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Donald Trump stands behind architect's model of City Hall Plaza.

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Donald Trump and Ivana Trump attend Roy Cohn's birthday party in February 1980 in New York City.

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Donna Mills and Donald Trump during 1983 Annual American Image Awards at Sheraton Center in New York City, New York, United States.

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Donald Trump attends 38th Annual Horatio Alger Awards Dinner on May 10, 1985 at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City.

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Portrait of real estate mogul Donald John Trump (b.1946), smiling slightly and facing to his right, 1983. New York.

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Boxing promoter Don King holds up the arms of Mike Tyson and former champion Larry Holmes during a press conference here 12/1. Looking on is Donald Trump. The fight will be held at the Trump Plaza Hotel.

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Donald Trump, real estate mogul, entrepreneur, and billionare poses in the foyer of his home in August 1987 in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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Donald Trump Jr. and Donald Trump during 1988 U.S. Open - September 3, 1988 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York, United States.

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Ivana Trump and Donald Trump during Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks Fight at Trump Plaza - June 27, 1988 at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States.

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Billionaire Donald Trump and his wife Ivana arrive 04 December 1989 at a social engagement in New York.

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Donald Trump and Daughter Ivanka Trump during Maybelline Presents 1991 Look of the Year at Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York, United States.

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Donald Trump attends 'Hoop-La' Special Olympics Basketball Game on June 25, 1992 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

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Donald Trump and Joan Rivers during Opening of The Rose Room in the Plaza Hotel at Plaza Hotel Rose Room in New York City, New York, United States.

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Donald Trump touches 07 April 1993 Marla Maples stomach to confirm published reports that the actress is pregnant with his child. The two arrived for Maples appearance in the Broadway musical 'The Will Rogers Follies'.

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US business tycoon Donald Trump enters the PLaza Hotel in New York past supporters 21 December 1994. Hundreds of supporters showed up at a news conference where Trump denied a New York newspaper report that the Sultan of Brunei had bid 300 million USD to buy the Manhattan hotel.

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Donald Trump and Christine Whitman during Opening of New Warner Bros. Store in Trump Plaza Casino at Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States.

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Donald Trump attends Marc Jacobs Fashion Show on April 4, 1995 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

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New York real estate giant Donald Trump poses in his Trump Tower office on a giant letter 'T' on May 8, 1996.

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Portrait of Marla Maples and her husband, businessman Donald Trump, with their daughter Tiffany, as they pose together at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 1996.

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Donald Trump and Ron Delsner backstage at a KISS concert at Madison Squre Garden in New York City on July 25, 1996.

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Donald Trump attending Halloween party thrown by Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss at the Supper Club to kick off Fashion Week.  

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Donald Trump and his girlfriend Celina Midelfar watch Conchita Martinez and Amanda Coetzer 07 September at US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY.

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Entrepreneur Donald Trump and Rev. Al Sharpton speak at a ribbon cutting ceremony for Sharpton's National Action Network Convention April 5, 2002 in New York City. The group aims to further the development of civil rights.

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Donald Trump and his girlfriend Melania Knauss attend the Marc Bouwer/Peta Fall/Winter 2002 Collection show February 14, 2002 during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City.

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Donald Trump sands with Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez of Venezuela prior to the Miss Universe 2010 Pageant Final at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on August 23, 2010. Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant and along with the Miss World is the most publicized beauty contest in the world. California clothing company Pacific Mills founded the contest 1952 and was acquired by Donald Trump in 1996.

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New administrations typically submit to Congress what is known as a "skinny budget," a broad outline of spending proposals, in their initial months in office, with lengthy volumes of fiscal plans and projections following a couple of months later.

But the Trump budget for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, 2017 may be more truncated than usual, said three budget experts interviewed by Reuters.

The document is expected to look only at one narrow piece of the budget: "discretionary" programs that are subject to renewal every year and not the massive "entitlement" programs such as the Social Security retirement program and the Medicare and Medicaid health programs.

"This one appears as though it will be one of the skinniest budgets of recent memory. Possibly emaciated," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Social programs such as Social Security and Medicare account for the majority of overall U.S. federal government costs. Trump pledged to protect the two programs during the campaign.

"If they put out a budget as skinny as advertised, it might not really tell us a whole lot about the president's overall budget and the direction of fiscal policy," said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan budget reform advocacy group.

The budget blueprint represents Trump's priorities for government spending in the coming fiscal year but it will ultimately be up to Congress to decide how to allocate funds.

Even though Trump's Republicans control both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the budget could face resistance. Some moderate Republicans have already expressed unease with some of the proposed spending cuts.

Trump's "skinny budget" will also make funding requests for the remaining months of the current fiscal year.

The White House is expected to ask Congress for additional money for the current fiscal year for waging combat operations abroad and for starting to build a wall on the southwestern U.S. border with Mexico.

As long as increases in military spending are offset with cuts elsewhere for 2018, keeping the deficit in check, Republican Representative Steve Pearce said he was willing to wait patiently for broader fiscal belt-tightening down the road.

"We're playing a very long game here in the debt and deficit," Pearce said in an interview.

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