DC Digest – March 14, 2017

 In Today’s Issue:
  • What to Expect in Trump’s Budget
  • CBO Scores ACA Replacement
  • Re-drafted Travel Ban Faces Opposition
  • Detained DREAMER Seeks District Court Hearing
  • FY17 Defense Funding Bill


President Trump this week plans to send his first budget request to Congress, a slimmed-down version of the full 2018 funding proposal the Administration will release later this spring. The so-called “skinny budget” will likely offer new insights into some of the Administration’s education priorities for the coming years — and might show which education programs are at risk as Trump seeks to slash non-defense domestic spending. Here’s what we’re watching for:


The Education Department would not be spared from the overall $54 billion that the Trump Administration has said it wants to reduce from domestic programs. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has said she’s looking for areas of the Department to cut.

The budget outline might also shed some light on where the Trump administration wants to go on higher education policy, an area in which DeVos has largely been silent during her first month in office. It’s unclear whether Trump’s campaign trail proposals — a new income-based repayment program and more scrutiny for university endowments — will make it into his budgetary plan.

Another thing to watch is whether the Administration will back year-round Pell grants. There’s bipartisan support in Congress, including backing from Speaker Paul Ryan. And DeVos gave a nod to “flexibility” in the Pell grant program during one of her few remarks on higher education last month.

Just for Reference

Here’s a copy of President Barack Obama’s 2009 “skinny budget.”

Trump Team Seeks Deficit Neutral Plan (?)

Trump’s economic team appears to be getting in line with House Republican leaders on the big tax overhaul this Fall. Gary Cohn, a top Trump adviser, said today the tax reform plan would be “deficit-neutral” — the first time the White House has suggested the plan wouldn’t just add to the deficit, even though Ryan and his allies have long said their plan would be neutral.

“We care about the deficit, we care about revenue,” Cohn told CNBC. “We’re going to have to be deficit-neutral over a 10-year period.”

In Case You Missed It: 


The Congressional Budget Office, which scores the cost and effects of proposed legislation, released its evaluation of the House Republican ACA replacement bill called the American Healthcare Act (AHCA).

Read the Full Text Here


President Trump’s revised travel ban suffered its first setback Friday when a federal judge in Wisconsin issued a temporary restraining order in the case of a Syrian refugee who wanted to bring his wife and 3-year-old daughter to the U.S.

“The court showdown in Wisconsin was just one of at least five expected to play out in the coming days,” Politico Correspondent Josh Gerstein writes, “as various states, organizations, and individuals try to block some or all of Trump’s redrafted travel ban order from taking effect as scheduled just after midnight Wednesday night.”


The legal team for Daniel Ramirez Medina, a DACA enrollee arrested in the Seattle area last month, offered evidence Friday in support of its argument that his case should be heard in a district court rather than an immigration court. The attorneys cited the case of Daniela Vargas, a fellow Dreamer in Mississippi who was arrested and then released by federal immigration officials on Friday.

“The court found that the petitioner’s claim that she was ‘being denied her substantive due process right to freedom from detention’ was ‘properly before this district court,'” the filing said.

Read the Filing Here


The House on March 8 approved the FY17 Defense appropriations bill (HR 1301), with increased funding for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Defense Education Program (NDEP). Funding for Defense basic research (6.1) is below the FY16 enacted level, but above the level requested by the previous administration and above the level in the predecessor bill (HR 5293)