A chart buried on page 245 of President Trump’s 2018 budget looks alarming: It shows a massive decrease in funding over 10 years for federal programs that aid survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. The 93 percent cut appeared to confirm the worst fears of survivor advocates and women’s activists. They’d been hearing reports that the Trump administration might slash federal funding for counseling services, shelter, legal help and other programs under the Violence Against Women Act. Yet the White House says that just isn’t so, McClatchy Newspapers reports. The Trump administration told advocates to ignore the chart that shows funding for the programs holding steady in 2018, then plummeting from $460 million to $30 million annually within a decade. They said the White House had no plans to gut the Violence Against Women grant programs.
Most of this year’s budget for the programs comes from the federal Crime Victims Fund. In future years, the budgets do not assume that money will be transferred from the fund. The administration has yet to determine how it will pay for the programs after this year. As a result, the chart “does not reflect a plan to cut” the money, the White House budget office said. Rather it “allows the administration flexibility to determine the appropriate source of funding beyond fiscal 2018.” The budget office called the process a “technical maneuver.” Kathy Spillar of the Feminist Majority Foundation said, “It’s totally disingenuous. They say don’t worry about it, but you can see with your own eyes that line in the budget.”