President Trump released his budget proposal for FY18, and it’s devastating for TCU members.
Some highlights include:
- Eliminates Amtrak Long-Distance service – Trump’s budget cuts Amtrak’s overall funding in half, from $1.404 billion annually to $774 million. Trump’s budget states that “long distance trains do not serve a vital transportation purpose, and are a vestige of when train service was the only viable transcontinental transportation option” (America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, p. 78).
- Eliminates TIGER and New Starts Grants – The budget also eliminates any new grants from being funded under the TIGER and New Starts grant programs. The total funding cuts amount to $499 million (America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, p. 79).
- Cuts Job Corps Funding – The budget says it “improves” Job Corps by cutting funding and closing centers. TCU administers an effective Job Corps program that trains and educates youths for well-paying jobs. The program is run through Job Corps centers around country (alongside other Job Corps programs), but it would cease operations if those centers closed. (America First Budget, Dept. of Labor Appendix, p. 728)
- Lowers RRB Funding – The budget lowers funding for the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), which is the agency that administers railroad retirement and disability benefits. The agency is already struggling with low funding levels, unable to modernize IT systems, and degrading overall service for beneficiaries. (America First Budget, Independent Agency Appendix, p. 1211)
- Cuts NMB Funding – The National Mediation Board (NMB) arbitrates grievance cases for railroad employees. Under Section 3, the funding for arbitration cases has been lowered consistently. Over the years, this has created a large backlog, further delaying justice for aggrieved railroad workers. (America First Budget, Independent Agency Appendix, p. 1195)
Q: So, what does this mean for TCU/IAM members?
A: Right now, not a lot. But it is very alarming nonetheless – even if nobody is in imminent danger of losing their jobs.
Q: Will this budget become law?
A: The President’s Budget is never actually passed into law as-written, but it does act as a guide for Republicans on Capitol Hill. After all, it is Congress that writes the budget, not the President. But since this year they are all from the same party, you can bet there will be a lot of similarity between what the President offers and what Congress passes.
Current funding goes through September, so nothing will be happening just yet. However, the fact that President Trump’s budget actually calls for the elimination of Amtrak’s long-distance service is frightening since it would cause thousands of TCU/IAM members to lose their jobs.
This should serve as a reminder to all working families that Elections. Have. Consequences.
If working people don’t show up to the polls, or review the real issues before voting, the security of our jobs and retirement are put at risk.
Nevertheless, the TCU/IAM Legislative Department will continue to fight for you and your families in Washington D.C.
Remember to check back often to hear the latest.