CAGW Recommendations for Trump Administration's Nickel Plan- USDA

November 1, 2018

The Honorable George “Sonny” Perdue, III
Secretary, Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Secretary Perdue,

During a meeting on October 17, 2018, President Trump directed you and other members of his Cabinet to cut their department budgets by 5 percent in fiscal year (FY) 2019.  With a national debt of more than $21 trillion and the budget deficit soaring to its highest level since 2012, President Trump’s initiative will help to improve fiscal responsibility.

Since 1993, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has annually published Prime Cuts, a comprehensive account of options the federal government possesses to reduce waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.  The 2018 edition has 636 recommendations that would save $429.8 billion in the first year and $3.1 trillion over five years.  Since CAGW was established in 1984 following the release of the Grace Commission report under President Reagan, the implementation of recommendations similar to those in Prime Cuts has helped save taxpayers $1.8 trillion.

I urge you to consider the following recommendations for President Trump’s 5 percent spending cut directive that are included in Prime Cuts 2018, as well as proposed in whole or in part in the President’s Major Savings and Reforms for FYs 2018 and 2019.

  • Reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

               1-Year Savings:  $1.7 billion                    5-Year Savings: $9.8 billion

  • Eliminate the Rural Single Family Housing Direct Loan Program

               1-Year Savings:  $68 million                     5-Year Savings: $340 million

  • Eliminate funding for the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program

               1-Year Savings:  $202 million                   5-Year Savings: $1 billion

  • Eliminate the Rural Economic Development Program

               1-Year Savings:  $0                                 5-Year Savings:  $318 million

  • Eliminate funding for rural water and wastewater grants

               1-Year Savings:  $509 million                   5-Year Savings: $2.6 billion

  • Establish a new discretionary user fee for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Agricultural Quarantine Inspection pre-departure program

               1-Year Savings:  $29 million                    5-Year Savings: $145 million

  • Reduce the animal and Plant Health Inspection Service salaries and expenses account

               1-Year Savings:  $213 million                   5-Year Savings:  $1.1 billion

  • Reduce conservation operations

               1-Year Savings:  $195 million                   5-Year Savings: $975 million

  • Streamline the research efforts of the Economic Research Service

               1-Year Savings:  $32 million                     5-Year Savings: $160 million

  • Establish a new user fee to recover the costs of the Federal Grain Inspection Service

               1-Year Savings:  $20 million                    5-Year Savings: $100 million

  • Eliminate federal land acquisition funding for the Forest Service

               1-Year Savings:  $56 million                    5-Year Savings: $280 million

  • Eliminate Rural Business and Cooperative programs

               1-Year Savings:  $103 million                   5-Year Savings: $515 million

  • Eliminate the Food for Progress food aid program

               1-Year Savings:  $166 million                   5-Year Savings: $830 million

  • Eliminate interest payments to electric and telecommunications utilities

               1-Year Savings:  $129 million                   5-Year Savings: $644 million

  • Establish Agricultural Marketing Service user fee

               1-Year Savings:  $20 million                    5-Year Savings: $100 million

  • Establish Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service user fee

               1-Year Savings:  $23 million                    5-Year Savings: $115 million

  • Establish Food Safety and Inspection Service user fee

               1-Year Savings: $0                                  5-Year Savings: $2.6 billion

  • Establish Packers and Stockyards Program user fee

               1-Year Savings:  $23 million                    5-Year Savings: $115 million

Secretary Perdue, thank you for your efforts to be a responsible steward of the taxpayers’ money.  Your work to fulfill President Trump’s 5 percent cut directive will show taxpayers that your department stands with them in rooting out wasteful spending in the federal government.

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz
President, CAGW

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