Trump proposes 18% budget cut for U.S. territories

Guam and other U.S. territories stand to get an 18 percent funding cut under President Trump’s proposed budget for 2019.

Trump has proposed $608 million for Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The Department of Interior originally proposed a $719.0 million budget for the Office of Insular Affairs, inclusive of a Department of Defense transfer for the Palau Compact.

The administration’s budget requests reduces technical assistance to the territories by $2 million, Brown Tree Snake control by $639 thousand, and Coral Reef Initiative and Natural Resources funding by $296 thousand.

The budget request eliminates $3 million in discretionary Compact impact funding, which is in addition to the mandatory $30 million shared by the affected jurisdictions each year.

“I am disappointed the President’s budget makes significant cuts to the Office of Insular Affairs for programs that directly benefit Guam and the other territories,” Guam’s delegate to Congress Madeleine Bordallo said. “Our communities are already struggling with constrained budgets, and the tax law enacted last year by Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration will worsen our local challenges.”

Federal officials, however, view the budget plan from a different perspective.