On Monday, the White House announced the recipient of Trump’s first-quarter salary which sits at $78,333: The Department of the Interior’s National Park Service. The presidential money, however, represent a drop in the ocean, as the department will face $1.6 billion in budget cuts under Trump’s new budget proposal.
Trump’s Salary Goes to DOI
In other words, Trump donation will offset just 0.005% of the proposed budget trimming. Nevertheless, with this donation, Trump honored a campaign promise to get no compensation for his job at the White House. Under the U.S. law, every U.S. president is required to get a salary. This is why, the billionaire accepted the compensation and decided to donate it every quarter.
That’s no big deal for me,
Trump said about the presidential salary in 2015.
The Interior Department’s head Ryan Zinke was honored to accept the check. He said the money would be invested in the “infrastructure on our nation’s battlefields,” which currently are $229 million short of funding.
It’s straight up. Every penny that the president received from the first quarter,
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Monday before handing the check to Zinke.
It is very surprising that Trump donated the money to the National Park Service since he had a clash with the agency in January when imagery released by the NPS showed the size of his inauguration was significantly smaller than his aides had reported.
On the other hand, Zinke’s department will face drastic cuts under a budget proposal signed by Trump for the incoming 2018 government spending. Under that proposal, the department’s budget will lose 12 percent of funding which amounts to $1.6 billion. Trump will have to donate 48,000 monthly salaries to offset the funding reduction.
Zinke said the department looked at the budget and they plan to negotiate it in Congress. He was confident the agency was going to win at the end of the day. The rest of the department’s budget (around $11.6 billion) will be redirected to mining and drilling operations on federal lands and offshore.
The DOI to Focus on Energy Development More
According to Trump’s budget proposal, the DOI’s budget for the operations that develop energy on federal land will be increased. In other words, the DOI will join forces with other agencies “to streamline permitting processes and provide industry with access to the energy resources America needs,” the Trump administration’s budget proposal reads. The White House commits to ensuring that taxpayers get a fair return from these projects.
Spicer explained why Trump picked a government institution over a private entity. Trump reportedly wanted to participate in the agency’s efforts to restore federal battlegrounds, which he considers a “great work”.
Trump’s critics think the move is a “publicity stunt”. Sierra Club director Michael Brune noted that if the president was genuinely interested in the health of our parks, he would not cut their budgets to record-low levels.
Trump pledged to donate all his salary, but he’s not the first U.S. president to do it. Herbert Hoover, who made millions out of mining consulting operations, and John F. Kennedy, who inherited a large wealth, also donated their paychecks.
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