Ramez Naam @ramez Books: Nexus Series / The Infinite Resource. Faculty @SingularityU. Energy, climate, & innovation wonk. Optimist. Mar. 24, 2018 2 min read

1. The new budget passed by Congress is a massive loss for Trump, and a successful defense of sensible priorities by Congress. It's not perfect. It contains some terrible speech and privacy acts. But it demonstrates how toothless Trump's threats are. A brief thread.

2. First, recall that Trump's proposed budget would have gutted the EPA, State Department, Interior, Education priorities like Head Start, and more. It included funding for his proposed "border wall". He got basically none of this.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/politics/trump-budget-2019/?utm_term=.4fc6f0620294 

3. The signed budget ignores the wall. Or rather, it funds a whopping 33 miles of border fence, using current methods:  https://qz.com/1236387/donald-trumps-border-wall-may-never-get-built-after-he-signed-the-latest-spending-bill/amp/ 

4. The signed budget INCREASES clean energy R&D by double digit percentages, including work at ARPA-E (up 16%) and the DOE's Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (up 14%).  https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/03/congress-votes-for-spending-bill-without-trump-energy-cuts-trump-may-veto-it/?amp=1 

5. The signed budget INCREASES science funding at NIH, CDC, National Science Foundation. It increases NASA funding, and keeps funding for NASA's Earth Sciences mission (studying climate change) at 2017 levels. EPA funding stays at 2017 levels.  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/trump-science-budget/556229/ 

6. The signed budget makes it legal for CDC to study gun violence! (Though there is no money allocated for this, and there should be). Still, this is long a sensible priority. Step 1 accomplished:  https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/23/17157938/cdc-gun-violence-research-omnibus-bill-dickey-amendment-funding-ban 

7. The Department of Education doesn't get any of the cuts that DeVos was pushing for:  https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/03/22/politics/congress-betsy-devos-spending-bill/index.html 

8. The 2020 Census, which Trump had proposed gutting, gets funded.

This matters because it will probably show continued demographic shifts that help democrats and will drive the re-apportioning of House Seats and Electoral College votes.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/the-2020-census-received-much-more-funding-in-the-fiscal-2018-budget-than-advocates-had-anticipated/2018/03/22/8e9597ce-2df9-11e8-8688-e053ba58f1e4_story.html 

9. The new budget includes money for increased election security and protection against foreign hackers. (Though it probably should have included more).  http://www.businessinsider.com/congress-included-election-security-in-spending-bill-2018-3 

10. The signed budget restricts ICE, preventing them from hiring more agents to round up immigrants, and limiting the number they can have in detention centers at any one time. (Obviously it should have gone much farther.)  https://www.vox.com/2018/3/22/17151442/omnibus-immigration-wall-trump 

11. Congress even snuck new sanctions on Russia into the budget Trump signed:  https://amp.thedailybeast.com/congress-snuck-new-russia-sanctions-into-spending-bill 

12. There are some really terrible things in the new budget on civil rights. In particular FOSTA-SESTA ( https://www.dailydot.com/debug/what-is-sesta-fosta-bill/ ) and CLOUD ( https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/03/23/cloud_act_spending_bill/ ) We have to keep fighting.

13. In short, though: Trump's threats to hack away at major programs, and press reporting of them, didn't come true. Trump is doing real damage, and remains a menace, particularly in foreign policy. Domestically, he continues to lose on most of his efforts. Keep up the fight.


You can follow @ramez.



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