OMB Memo Signals Possible Elimination of Social Innovation Fund (Social Innovation Research Center)

By Patrick Lester

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is circulating a memo that targets nine federal programs for elimination by the Trump administration, one of which is the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency that houses the Social Innovation Fund.

According to The New York Times, which broke the story on Friday, the list represents an opening salvo in a larger effort to reduce federal spending. The Senate confirmed President Trump’s OMB director, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), on Thursday.

The programs cited in the memo are:

  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Legal Services Corporation
  • White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Export-Import Bank
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation
  • Appalachian Regional Commission

According to the story:

While the total amount of annual savings of roughly $2.5 billion would be comparatively small, administration officials want to highlight the agencies in their coming budget proposal as examples of misuse of taxpayer dollars. An internal memo circulated within the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday, and obtained by The New York Times, notes that the list could change. Proposals for more extensive cuts in cabinet-level agencies are expected to follow.

The chosen agencies have been asked to respond by Friday, February 24. The list is expected to be finalized by March 13.

The Social Innovation Fund does not appear to have been mentioned by name, but it has been targeted for elimination by congressional Republicans in previous years.  The program was always restored after negotiations with the Obama administration.  The Senate may play a similar role in this year’s expected budget battles.  While Republicans control both the House and the Senate, appropriations bills can be filibustered in the Senate.

Many of the programs on the list have also been highlighted for reductions or elimination by the conservative Heritage Foundation, which has been influential with the new administration. According to the New York Times story:

Stephen Moore, another Heritage Foundation economist who advised Mr. Trump during his campaign, acknowledged that powerful constituencies were behind many of the programs that are on the chopping block. But he said now that Republicans are finally in control of the government, they must make a valiant effort to fulfill the promises they have been making to voters for years.

“I think it’s an important endeavor to try to get rid of things that are unnecessary,” Mr. Moore said. “The American public has a lot of contempt for how government is run in Washington, in no small part because there is so much waste.”

Results for America is currently circulating a sign-on letter among interested organizations on the Social Innovation Fund and other evidence-based programs. For more information, contact Jeremy Ayers at jeremy(at)results4america.org.

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