President Donald Trump will recommend cutting the EPA budget 31 percent.

Trump will release his “skinny budget” Thursday morning, broadly laying out the White House’s budget request. Trump will push for a $2.6 billion cut to EPA’s budget, congressional staffers familiar with the request told NYT.

Previous reporting indicated Trump wanted to cut EPA’s budget 25 percent, or $2 billion, and reduce its staff by 20 percent, or 3,000 employees. But in the last couple of days, sources told reporters the cuts would likely be deeper.

Trump is expected to cut dozens of EPA global warming programs, funding to environmental groups and state grants. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said he would push to protect grants to states for environmental cleanup and water infrastructure.

EPA official David Schnare indicated at an Energy Bar Association meeting Monday that closing the Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance “is a real live issue, not just at EPA but at the White House.”

“They really want to cut staff. They’re not joking around,” a source at the meeting told InsideEPA, relating Schnare’s comments. “This is not a fake thing.”

If Congress approves of the cuts, EPA will see its budget cut from $8.2 billion to $5.7 billion, the lowest funding levels in 40 years — adjusted for inflation. EPA’s 15,000-strong workforce could be cut to 12,000 employees.

Trump plans to cut funding for the civilian bureaucracy to fund a $54 billion increase in defense spending. But the big question is if such cuts will make it through Congress.

The budget released Thursday is only a rough first draft presidents usually submit to Congress in their first months in office. The White house will release its full budget request in May. That budget plan will include detailed spending requests and proposals for tax reform.

House Committee on Appropriations staffers received the budget Wednesday.

Staffers told the NYTimes Trump pushed for cuts to numerous federal programs, including “drastic reductions in the 60-year-old State Department Food for Peace Program, which sends food to poor countries hit by war or natural disasters, and the elimination of the Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service program, which subsidizes flights to rural airports.”

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This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller


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