A State of the Union Timeline as It Affects Grants

January 31, 2018 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

washington-dc-7-1230576Norman Chad has a weekly, often humorous, sports column that runs in the Washington Post. Following major sporting events, he’ll often write a column giving a tongue-in-cheek rundown of the events as they happened during the game. We’d thought we take a similar “timeline” approach to this blog post for President Trump’s State of the Union speech last night. The difference here is we aimed to highlight discussions during the speech that could affect grants. We pretty much had a feeling going in that he wouldn’t discuss such topics as the procurement threshold under the uniform guidance or concerns about subrecipient monitoring, but maybe there would be policy issues he would mention that would affect grant funding. The following was the timeline of grants interest as we recorded it:

8:59 p.m.: Melania Trump enters wearing a white suit.

9:05 p.m.: President Trump enters wearing a black suit.

9:10 p.m.: President Trump is introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan.

From this point on, details about future policy were not quite as clear.

9:33 p.m.: Trump discusses support for veteran care. What could this mean for Department of Veterans Affairs veterans assistance programs?

9:36 p.m.: Trump boasts that more regulations have been eliminated in the past year than any administration in American history. Considering that last year’s Federal Register had about half the number of pages as the previous year, that may not be too surprising, if Trump’s claim is accurate. But is deregulation advantageous for grant programs?

9:39 p.m.: Trump discusses FDA approval of new medical drugs and medical devices, adding that patients with terminal illnesses should have access to experimental treatment, urging Congress to pass “Right-to-Try” legislation. This is as close as Trump comes to any discussion of more funding for medical research, leaving many research universities still wondering if their future research project funding is still up in the air.

9:43 p.m.: Trump emphasizes the importance of rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, criticizing the fact that it often takes 10 years to get a permit to build a road. He expressed support for legislation to provide $1.5 trillion for new infrastructure investment. He also added that every federal dollar should be partnered with state and local government funding, along with private money. This is a bold approach, but do state and local governments have the funding available to match federal spending?

9:46 p.m.: Trump mentions welfare-to-work, encouraging workforce investment and job training, opening vocational schools and supporting paid family leave. These are popular issues, but the president didn’t add any further discussion on how to pay for these investments.

10:07 p.m.: Trump encourages Congress to fully fund the military. How much funding would this require, and what federal programs would be sacrificed to fund the military?

10:17 p.m.: Trump mentions that American foreign investment should only go to countries that are friendly with the United States. What countries are those, and what could this mean for U.S. Agency for International Development and Department of State grant programs that provide aid to countries abroad?

By 10:30 p.m., Trump had ended his speech. There was no word of about funding education programs or housing programs or even the costly Medicaid program. Although State of the Union speeches often don’t provide detailed specifics about how the president wants to address policy, this speech seemed to be even more vague. We’ll have to see over the course of the next several months what the White House’s plan for federal award programs will be, and how budget proposals and policy changes will affect these programs. As always, stay tuned.

What was your reaction to the State of the Union speech? What did you want to hear addressed? We’d love to hear from you.

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