Trump Budget: New Priorities, New Opportunities
Statement by AIA President and CEO David F. Melcher on the preliminary budget submitted to Congress by President Trump.
Arlington, Va. — President Trump’s preliminary budget submission reflects a substantial re-ordering of priorities. The Aerospace Industries Association welcomes the President’s proposal as the vital first step in determining national priorities for the coming years and looks forward to working with him and Congress as these proposals become law.
AIA embraces the increase in defense spending as a good first step. Civilian and uniformed military leaders have acknowledged that inadequate and uncertain budgets have forced our military to raid long-term investment accounts in order to keep our deployed forces ready. Unfortunately, the $603 billion defense budget proposed by the President today will not go far enough toward restoring the lost buying power and delayed modernization imposed by Budget Control Act caps. AIA supports raising the base defense budget to at least $640 billion in FY2018, as proposed by then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in his FY2012 defense budget plan, and by both Senate Armed Services Chairman McCain and House Armed Services Chairman Thornberry in their recent proposals for FY2018 defense spending.
AIA also is encouraged by the President’s continued commitment to reduce burdensome regulations. This budget places a clear priority on promoting a regulatory environment that unshackles business and will allow our industry to fulfill its great potential to create high-skill, high-paying manufacturing jobs.
While we support much of the President’s plan, we are concerned about cuts in domestic spending in several government enterprises. For example, the FAA, under the Department of Transportation budget, provides critical certification and safety oversight functions that not only ensure the safety of our aircraft but ensure a continuing pipeline of technologically advanced new U.S.-built aircraft, engines and aerospace products into domestic and international markets. It is vital that cuts do not negatively impact FAA certification procedures.
AIA is pleased to see continued support for NASA’s major programs of record including the International Space Station, Space Launch System/Orion and James Webb Space Telescope. However, cuts to NASA Earth Science missions, Aeronautics research and future NOAA satellite programs risk our access to key information that is used across government agencies for national security, public safety and community planning applications.
The interconnected nature of many government programs mean that cuts will have far-reaching impacts. For instance, the Departments of Commerce and State play important roles in managing U.S. security cooperation with key allies and partners and supporting the global competitiveness of American manufacturers. It is critical to consider the impact of these spending cuts on those missions and our industry’s continued ability to generate a trade surplus – $90 billion in 2016.
Finally, we are concerned that the 13% reduction in Education funding will eliminate federally funded Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs such as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. STEM education is essential to our industry to ensure that there is a sufficient and capable talent pool entering higher education in STEM-related degree programs.
AIA looks forward to working with President Trump and Congress to refine these proposals and promote investments that ensure our national security, contribute to economic growth and create jobs across America.