For the fourth time in his administration, President Donald Trump has proposed slashing spending on Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts — only this time, the move comes weeks after he signed a bipartisan agreement to increase the program’s budget by 16%.
Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget, released Monday, includes $7.3 million for the Annapolis-based Chesapeake Bay Program, which oversees research and initiatives across the bay watershed that aim to restore the health of the nation’s largest estuary. It had for years received $73 million from the federal government, but a spending plan Congress approved and Trump signed in December increased that to $85 million.
Trump’s $4.8 trillion election-year budget plan also recycles cuts to food stamps, farm subsidies, Medicaid and student loans that Congress has previously rejected, while boosting the military and leaving Social Security and Medicare benefits untouched.
Like the others before it, the budget proposal is not expected to advance on Capitol Hill. But it again offers signals of the administration’s wish lists as Trump begins his campaign for re-election.
Environmental groups expressed frustration to see the administration again push for cuts to bay program spending.
“This action continues President Trump’s assault on the Chesapeake Bay and clean water," said William C. Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, in a statement. “We are making progress, but it is fragile and under constant assault by the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks."
Maryland politicians including Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, and Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, also criticized the proposal.
Van Hollen, who helped lead the push to increase federal funding for bay cleanup, said he would use his role on the Senate budget annd appropriations committee to fight the proposal. Hogan said he would push against the cuts in his role as chairman of the Chesapeake Executive Council, a six-state regional commission.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.