Trumps budget and the auto industry

Trumpês budget and the auto industry

The first point to note about President Trumpês proposed national budget is that it is not apt to pass Congress in its current form. That is typically true of presidential budgets, but it is even more so now, partly because this budget lacks many specifics. Even Republicans in Congress, including some of Trumpês biggest backers, attacked the budget the day it was presented.

Still, the budget offers a strong political statement for the new administration and so is worth studying as a guide to its priorities though none should be surprising.

The Transportation Department takes a 13 percent cut. That means infrastructure projects would be put on the back burner. TIGER grants (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) a program offering funding for local surface transportation projects, created as part of the Obama administrationês 2009 stimulus program would be eliminated. Such projects are popular in Congressional membersê districts, so that cut might not survive.

Itês not clear which other DOT programs could take a hit. But there will surely be staff cuts as Trump follows through on his pledge to cut federal agency personnel. Would that mean fewer federal workers to write needed regulations for autonomous vehicles? Fewer employees at NHTSA to focus on recalls? Stay tuned.

As has been widely publicized, EPA is slated to take the biggest budget hit, cutting 3,200 jobs. Having fewer workers at the EPA to write regulations could be a help to dealers unhappy with the agencyês regulatory overreach. On the other hand, a diminished staff at the EPA could cause confusion as fewer people try to manage the regulations that are still in place.

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