President Donald Trump has announced a major overhaul of the federal government, including a $1.5 trillion cut to the Department of Heritage.
Democrats and their allied groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Heritage Foundation, have spent months trying to get the Heritage Department abolished.
But Trump has decided to put a new office on the chopping block.
“There is no doubt that the Heritage Office is an important part of the Department’s mission to serve as an anchor of the Heritage foundation,” the White House said in a statement.
“Its mission is to provide the President with the broadest and most comprehensive range of information and policy expertise, as well as to support the president’s policy priorities, including tax reform and national security.”
The move is a major reversal for the Trump administration.
A spokeswoman for the Heritage Institute said in an email that the president is working with Congress to address the need for a new department.
The Heritage Department provides information on the federal budget, trade policy, immigration and national defense.
It also helps the administration make recommendations to the President on policy matters, and it has a broad range of expertise in areas such as tax policy, health care, energy, and the environment.
Democrats in Congress are pushing hard to abolish the Heritage office.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called it “a massive waste of money” and said it would “cost taxpayers more and make it harder for the American people to keep their tax dollars in their own pockets.”
Rep. Tom McClintock, the committee’s ranking Democrat, also said he was “very concerned” about the proposal, which he called a “radical overreach.”
“This proposal will make the federal workforce even more vulnerable to the whims of the White Senate,” he said.
“We have already seen the Trump Administration threaten to cut the Heritage budget by $50 billion by eliminating the office and other critical services.”
Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., also called for the office to be eliminated, arguing it was a waste of taxpayer money.
While Trump’s decision to gut the office comes amid a major tax overhaul effort, Heritage has been a central part of his efforts.
The group has provided guidance for Trump on many issues, including energy, tax policy and trade.
Democrats have pushed to eliminate the Heritage department, and Republicans in Congress have signaled they will try to do so as well.
Rep. Jeff Miller, R to Nevada, said the Heritage program is critical for the President’s agenda and that the Trump-led Senate needs to work with Congress and the Whitehouse to ensure its continued operation.
Congressional Democrats are already planning to move on the Heritage plan, as is the Heritage Advisory Council.