This month, President Donald Trump unveiled his budget proposal, titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” Despite its title, the budget’s savage cuts to crucial programs would harm many Americans, especially those who voted for President Trump.
Although he campaigned on promises to create jobs and strengthen the economy in rural areas, President Trump’s budget eliminates the Delta Regional Authority, or DRA, which funds economic development and workforce training programs in Tennessee.
Created in 2000, the Delta Regional Authority is an economic development agency that serves Tennessee and seven other states in the Mississippi Delta region—Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri. The Delta Regional Authority works to strengthen the economy in the 252 counties and parishes it serves by creating jobs and investing in economic development projects, such as infrastructure and workforce development.
In Tennessee, the Delta Regional Authority serves 21 counties. By eliminating the program, President Trump is betraying the 280,133 Tennesseans who voted for him and call these counties home:
The economic development funds Trump plans to cut have had a significant impact in these 21 Tennessee counties:
- 68 economic development projects funded
- $15,344,332 invested
- 6,394 jobs created and retained
- 3,238 workers trained for local jobs
- 12,250 families with access to clean and safe water
President Trump’s promise to strengthen the economy for Tennessee families rings hollow when he aims to gut programs such as the Delta Regional Authority. As Chris Masingill, co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, said in response to President Trump’s budget: “You cannot advocate for infrastructure development and economic security in rural America without also supporting the mechanisms, such as DRA, that make those projects a reality.”
Molly Cain is a Senior Researcher at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.