In December 2022, the Center for Renewing America (CRA) released its proposed Fiscal Year 2023 budget that would address America’s ballooning debt while also ending “Woke and Weaponized Government.” CRA claims their budget would reduce the debt as a percentage of the economy and balance the budget within 10 years. As of the third quarter of 2022, America’s debt as a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 120%. It also would cut approximately $9 trillion in government spending with a majority of the cuts coming from bloated agencies and programs that have grown only to further the goals of unelected bureaucrats. The full breakdown was $6 trillion in mandatory reforms and nearly $3 trillion in annual discretionary spending savings.
Below are some of the important changes made in the budget to each federal department that FreedomWorks views as necessary and important changes to promote the fiscal health of the country. The CRA also compiled a list of woke and weaponized programs from across the federal government that would be eliminated. That list can be found here. A full summary of the proposed budget can be found here.
- The budget cuts $3.3 trillion from the Department of Justice, with most of the cuts coming from highly politicized areas such as the Civil Rights Division, eliminating the “equity” obsessed Community Relations Service, and restructuring the FBI to eliminate its weaponized posture towards Americans who don’t share the same political beliefs of bureaucrats. The proposal does increase funding for the U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency to ensure that laws are enforced and citizens are protected.
- The proposal would increase funding for the Department of Homeland Security, with most of the increased funding going towards securing the border, including hiring more border patrol agents to complete the border wall. The Department of Transportation’s funding would also be increased (DOT) to provide critical investments in the Nation’s infrastructure, including highways, railways, ports, and airports.
- The proposal would radically redefine the Department of Health and Human Services and the agencies that department oversees. The proposal would eliminate woke offices and agencies at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and prevent programs within the department from promoting open borders.
- The proposed budget would greatly reduce or eliminate the woke policies throughout the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as ensure that the department is focused on helping Americans become self-sufficient.
- The budget would increase funding for the Department of Defense while eliminating many woke priorities that are demoralizing America’s armed services. The budget also prioritizes fiscal responsibility within national security “by bringing focus to mission fundamentals, downsizing bloated overhead of the Pentagon, the general officer corps, the civilian workforce, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.”
- At the State Department and related agencies, the budget would eliminate programs that promote LGBTQIA+ ideology overseas. It would also drastically reduce or eliminate funding for mismanaged and wasteful programs such as providing free community college to foreign students. The proposal would return USAID to its original mission of “generosity to people in circumstances of extreme need around the globe”–not a mission that currently serves the radical whims of global elites.
- The Department of Education (ED) would see a massive reduction in funding to reorient the department away from the growing influence of the far left and woke policies and programs coming out of ED. Savings would include consolidating 30 elementary and secondary programs into one single block grant, which would allow for greater oversight and halt ED’s increasing emphasis on Critical Race Theory (CRT) and other radical beliefs; and eliminating several teacher training programs that have acted as consortiums for CRT. CRA wants to also restore value to higher education by eliminating or limiting federal student loans, which are at least partially responsible for the dramatic increases in the tuition and fees in higher education institutions by over 100% over the last 20 years. The student loan process needs to be reformed to provide students a good return on their investment in higher education and ensure that higher education institutions take more responsibility for a greater investment in their students’ success. FreedomWorks has supported this reform in the past.
- In the Department of the Treasury, CRA would eliminate the funding for the 87,000 new IRS agents included in 2022’s so-called “Inflation Reduction Act.”. The proposal would also reform the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the child tax credit by ensuring that only those who are authorized to work in the U.S.–not illegal aliens–could claim these tax credits. The CRA budget would also repeal Obamacare subsidies for high income earners and would allow individuals to purchase the coverage they most want. FreedomWorks has long been critical of Obamacare and supports greater choice in the health insurance market.
- The CRA would reduce the funding for the Department of Labor by almost half of what the Biden administration proposed for FY23. It would also refocus the department to ensure that it is working for Americans by providing training opportunities to improve skills and enter the workforce. The CRA proposed budget would eliminate ineffective programs like Job Corps and YouthBuild while funding apprenticeships that have a better track record of providing skilled employees and higher wages. The CRA proposed budget would also eliminate funding for woke leftist groups that actively oppose the department’s mission.
- The CRA would drastically reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut the bloat and ensure that it is not funding programs that target hard-working Americans or promote woke ideology. The CRA would limit the EPA to its core function of “preserving clean air, clean water, and clean environments while ensuring the agency has the capacity to respond to environmental disasters and hazard clean-up.”
- With the Department of Energy, the CRA would prioritize American energy security by preventing sell-offs of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), investing in nuclear energy modernization, and funding grants that promote woke ideologies or weaponize the department against Americans.
- The Department of Agriculture’s, Child Nutrition Program and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) would be reformed to give states more flexibility in how they administer the grants while cracking down on abuse in the programs. The proposed budget would also eliminate federal price supports for the dairy and sugar industries, which serve only to keep the prices of these commodities higher.
- The Departments of Interior and Commerce would both see reductions in funding and elimination of funding for programs pushing a woke agenda.
- The CRA would ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs is fully funded to meet the needs of America’s veterans while also preventing woke and weaponized policies that could negatively impact care for veterans. The VA should not be providing care on a partisan basis and should be focused on caring for veterans.
These recommendations represent a crucial step to getting America’s fiscal house in order and eliminating programs that target American citizens and promote ideologies that undercut their missions. FreedomWorks will always support ideas that balance the budget, reduce the size and power of government, and ensure our government and country run on “the values and principles that have made us the freest and most prosperous nation in history.”