The Short Version: The EPA & The Budget

The Short Version: The EPA & The Budget

The point of it all is to break down the headlines, the week’s most controversial issues, determine why a particular issue is important to you, and reveal the best arguments on each side of the story.

By reading Cleo Abram’s The Short Version, you join a vibrant group of people with two simple beliefs: 1) Every important issue can and should be discussed in a way we all can understand; 2) Understanding both sides makes us more thoughtful and our views more informed.

In some of the most recent iterations of The Short Version, Cleo Abram looked at the drone industry. Should it be strictly regulated to protect privacy? Next she exampled the American Healthcare Act. Should Congress pass the legislation. This week the subject is the EPA and Trump’s budget.

Note: In general, if you have missed any of Cleo’s blogs, just go to our Home Page, type “The Short Version” into Search (magnifying glass icon) and poof, like magic, all her blogs will appear.

“I love getting feedback every week—thank you! If you want come hang out, debate a thing or two, and meet other Shorties, check out Short Events,” says Cleo. “Or if you have a topic you’d be interested in guest writing, just let me know! Let’s make it happen. And this week, if you want to follow the topic of healthcare more closely, check out VoxCare.

Cleo Constantine Abrams of the “Short Form,” offering densely packed spins on issues of national and global importance.

Cleo Constantine Abram of the “Short Form,” offering densely packed spins on issues of national and global importance.


What’s happening?

The White House released its first budget under President Trump: “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.”

A president can offer suggestions to Congress, but it is up to Congress to implement them or not. But a budget is a statement on that president’s priorities and, arguably, morals. Usually, a president’s budget outlines that administration’s stances on taxes, entitlements like Social Security, the deficit, and “discretionary” spending by agencies. This budget only addresses that last piece—how the government should allocate money to agencies and how those agencies should spend it.

The budget suggests significantly more spending on defense ($639 billion, a $52 billion increase), veteran’s affairs, and homeland security (which would include funding for the border wall). It suggests significantly less spending on a long list that includes practically everything else.

At the top of that list? The Environmental Protection Agency.

Budget increases and cuts suggested in President Trump’s first budget (Washington Post)

Why is it important?

In the 1970’s, the EPA hired photographers to document the environment as it related to people’s daily life. The images are haunting. They show what life was like before we had key environmental protections—which are enforced in large part by the EPA.

The EPA budget has long been at the center of a larger partisan debate over government spending on environmental scientific research and climate-related programs. 

Debate it!

Should we cut spending to the EPA as this budget recommends?

Continue reading the debate here.

Cleo Abram 2

Cleo grew up in Washington D.C., lives in New York City, and loves to visit her parents in Telluride. She authors “The Short Version,” a newsletter that explains each week’s most important issue and both sides of the debate around it.

Cleo is a digital strategist now working at Vox, a general interest news site for the 21st century. Its mission is simple: Explain the news. Politics, public policy, world affairs, pop culture, science, business, and more.

Cleo’s work focuses on ways to share, educate, and inform using online platforms. While in college at Columbia University, she guided the school’s entrance into online education through her role as the youngest elected representative to the Columbia Senate, which makes university-wide policy.

She continued her work on online education at TED-Ed, the educational branch of the nonprofit, building new programs and online tools to support high school teachers worldwide.

Continuing her work with TED, Cleo founded and led an early TEDx conference, the organization’s community-specific series.

Most importantly, Cleo loves to ski.

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