Trump budget includes OMB bump, but cuts IT policy spend


The Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which houses the Office of Management and Budget.

The White House's budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 cuts civilian spending to offset proposed defense increases, but it also includes a slight uptick in funding for the Office of Management and Budget.

The reason why, director Mick Mulvaney explained at a June 21 House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing, is to carry out President Donald Trump's management agenda.

"I see the OMB-[Executive Office of the President] budget as simply a microcosm of the larger budget," he said. "It prioritized and spent more money on things important to the president, and spent less money elsewhere. That's the same thing we do in the OMB-EOP budget."

Specifically, the proposal carves out $103 million for OMB, an $8 million increase over the enacted fiscal year 2017 levels, to fund increased staffing in order to fulfill the comprehensive government reorganization and to reduce federal regulations, as spelled out by executive orders.

"We're to look at the executive branch of government from a blank slate," Mulvaney said. "For the first time in two centuries, we get the chance to look at government from scratch, and OMB's responsible for that -- a huge undertaking."

Mulvaney said the bump in OMB is to support increasing its full-time equivalent staffing by 30 employees, "none of which are political," plus 10 additional new hires at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. 

OMB itself is short a few key political posts. There's still no nominee for a deputy director for management, a head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy or a federal CIO. Additionally, Linda Springer, who served in the transition team and has been a senior advisor to Mulvaney on management issues, announced her retirement effective June 30.

While the proposal includes a bump in OMB's overall budget, it also requests $25 million for the Information Technology Oversight and Reform Fund, a $2 million reduction from the enacted fiscal year 2017 level.

According to the budget request, ITOR supports four governmentwide goals: to ensure that IT investments stay within their budgets and deliver on time, to help agencies deliver IT services at maximum efficacy, to expand the use of data and analytics to support agency IT portfolio management and to advance cross-agency cybersecurity initiatives.

Additionally, the ITOR account supports the Cyber and National Security Unit, as well as the U.S. Digital Service. The USDS budget holds steady at $19 million.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter


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